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REDWatch Comments on RWA Issues Papers for Phase 2 HSP

REDWatch has major concerns about the process used by the RWA for phase 2 consultations. These concerns include:

A.      The short period of time available for public comment and the lack of notice to the community about the issues papers have made it impossible for REDWatch and local services to undertake consultations to obtain specific input from the community and service users on the Issues Papers or the service areas under review by the RWA.

B.      The combination of four service areas in one forum, coupled with the limitation of only one delegate per organisation, limits the opportunity for specialised input into the forum discussions on the topics under discussion.

C.      Active community members, who would have attended open community discussions as undertaken in phase one of the HSP, have been excluded from the process and replaced by those chosen by the RWA.

D.      The only opportunity most people will have to make comment will be when the Draft Phase Two Plan goes out for public consultation. Based on the Phase One consultation there was little room for change to the plan at the final stage; this will be especially so if it to goes to Cabinet before community consultation.

REDWatch has identified the following issues from the RWA Issues papers and our limited discussions, as important for the RWA and the Forum to consider:

1.       Identifying the needs of service users in the area - There has been no process that we can see that identifies the met and unmet needs of service users in the area. Any Plan must start with the needs of the services users and an identification of met and unmet need. The RWA should undertake a process of identification of met and unmet needs with the users of the services prior to drawing up plans for reforming the various services.

2.       The lack of lead-time given to respond to the RWA  Issues papers means that there has not been time for community groups to undertake any discussions with service users. 

3.       The RWA should not assume that the existence of services to one CALD community means that all CALD communities have access to services so CALD service needs should be assessed for each of the CALD community sectors.

4.       There has been nothing supplied in the issues papers that identifies the projected growth of service users. Clearly in the case of services for the elderly the demographic trends need to be taken into account when looking at service organisation.

5.       There is nothing in the issues papers dealing with the pivotal role played by DoH tenure and allocations policy in determining the demographic shape of the area in future.

6.       Housing is a pivotal service for all the service areas under consideration and great emphasis should be put into ensuring that housing policy is fully integrated with service delivery to the services areas. In particular, there needs to be effort to reduce duplication with the DoH’s Human Services Accord and for local services to be integrated into it.

7.       A full range of accommodation options for the aged community and their families need to available in the area including serviced accommodation, nursing homes and retirement facilities. This should include consideration of Rachel Foster Hospital as a well placed site for the provision of such community services.

8.       Transport options need to be available for people to get access to services and recreational activities. This is not just in terms of adequate community transport, but also improved public transport and local transport (such as Perth’s Central Area Transit (CAT)) type options. Older people losing their spouse driver or their licence places increased reliance on public transport options.

9.       There is an assumption that reorganisation can fund unmet need. With service providers saying they are operating at capacity and that there is significant unmet need the Government must commit to ensuring adequate funding to meet the identified needs. This must involve additional one off funding for any reorganising of services and any additional funding required for services if savings can not be achieved by efficiencies.

10.   As with the HSP phase one services, government departments and services must develop an integrated approach to dealing with service delivery and adequately fund it. They must also have in place programmes for identifying and meeting unmet need.

11.   The RWA HSP Phase 2 must build on what already works rather than starting new initiatives from scratch.

12.   Service users and service providers both bring different perspectives to how services can be improved and what needs are not being adequately met. The RWA should listen carefully to input from both these sources before reforming services.

13.   Issues of safety are central to why many residents do not access services, or do not access services as early as they could. These safety issues need to be addressed.

14.   Policy changes by the DoH, which promote limited tenure, have significant effects on the community, reducing residents’ stability and identification with the community. This creates higher needs for services, particularly when existing government policy meant that new residents will have complex higher needs.

15.   There is a need to ensure Indigenous specific and appropriate services. Many of the issues raised in the CALD issues paper are also relevant to indigenous people.

16.   There is a need not only for aged services, but also for services for younger families, both in the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. The lack of these services impact on the sectors under consideration in Phase 2.

17.   Foster care is an important issue, particularly for the Indigenous community. Increased support needs to be given to older people providing both formal and informal foster care as well as crisis assistance.

18.   Many of the issues identified in the discussion paper are structural issues decided by state and federal governments. These need to be identified as such, and strategies identified for dealing with state-commonwealth issues, rather than services being implicitly asked to address structural issues outside their control.

19.   Adequate funding must be identified to implement the review. If this funding cannot be secured through departmental reallocations, then the RWA should make a separate request for additional funds.

20.   Multiple access points are often preferable because different people and communities access services differently.

21.   RWA should avoid duplication of taskforces where effective taskforces already exist, as with the CoS Community Safety taskforce. The RWA should instead look at resourcing and facilitating existing taskforces and inter-agencies rather than setting up duplicating structures.

22.   There should be opportunities for those involved in the consultation to see the plans and comment on how their views have been represented prior to the draft plan going to Cabinet.

23.   There is no system for monitoring the quality and quantum of service delivery to service users

24.   REDWatch reaffirms the need for a more community driven and cooperative approach to service review.

25.   In the community consultation for Phase One of the Human Services Review the community expressed a strong desire for a number of outcomes which should also be taken up in Phase Two. Theses included:

  • greater community involvement in planning and decision-making about local services
  • increased accountability and reporting to the community from all human services, government and non-government
  • equity of access to services
  • improved coordination among the local services
  • politicians and senior managers with responsibility for services experiencing local issues by coming to Redfern-Waterloo
  • community meetings to be widely promoted (through letter drops and word-of-mouth) and held in accessible venues (such as schools).

(Report of Community Outcomes Workshops of 4 April 2005 in Redfern-Waterloo Human Services E-Newsletter - Issue Two 19 April 2005)

Issued by REDWatch Co-ordination Group 19th July 2006
For Further Information contact:
REDWatch Representative to HSP Phase Two Forum - Tiffany McComsey or
REDWatch Spokesperson - Geoffrey Turnbull Ph Wk: (02) 9318 0824 mail@redwatch.org.au or
REDWatch Secretary - Ben Spies-Butcher secretary@redwatch.org.au

REDWatch is a residents and friends group covering Redfern Eveleigh Darlington and Waterloo (the same area covered by the Redfern Waterloo Authority). REDWatch monitors the activities of government activities such as the RWA and RWPP and seek to ensure community involvement in all decisions made about the area. More details can be found at www.redwatch.org.au.