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Community Service Crisis

SERIOUS concerns have been raised about the future of community services provided by the Redfern-Waterloo Authority when its funding runs out in less than two months.

In the past financial year the RWA provided more than $827,000 in grants to community organisations reports Robert Burton-Bradley in the Central of 14th May 2008.

At least six local community service providers said they believed that when the funding commitment expired at the end of this financial year in June, it would not be renewed.

This leaves an uncertain future for a number of employees of RWA and local groups and programs which receive funding from the Human Services budget.

"So far we have no idea if there will be a human services program next year, there is no allocation beyond the middle of this year," community group REDWatch representative Geoff Turnbull said.

"There is concern that it will end as nothing is being said by RWA."

The South Sydney Community Aid and Multicultural Neighbourhood Centre's Jhan Leach said the authority's funding, which came through the Premier's Department, had provided funds for a Centacare Transcultural Family Support Service in Redfern, but a worker she employed would provide this service when the funding ran out.

"It's a perfect example where they have left this community high and dry," Ms Leach said. "We have had to pick it up because there is no where else who can do it."

NSW Council of Social Services director Alison Peters said the RWA had attempted to get a quick fix by smothering the area in a "truckload of money over a very short period."

"It was always going to take more than three years, there's some things you can do quickly, significant change takes longer," Ms Peters said.

A spokesperson for Redfern-Waterloo Minister Frank Sartor said that no comment could be made before the budget.

Faye Williams from the Inner Sydney Council for Regional Development said overall the human services program had been a "failure". "It's all been such a waste of time energy and money and made everyone in the area feel bad," Ms Williams said.

"They were not doing much, it was minimal, it will do absolutely nothing having that budget cease."

Source: Courier 14 May 2008