Back: Judy Brauer, Lee Prince, Donna Weaver, and Karen Winkel. Front: Tanya Easterby, Leonie Hempsall, Sue Deacon, Cyd Kelly, Kellie Stirton, Cynthia Less-Smith, Maria Toms and Sue Wade.
Back: Judy Brauer, Lee Prince, Donna Weaver, and Karen Winkel. Front: Tanya Easterby, Leonie Hempsall, Sue Deacon, Cyd Kelly, Kellie Stirton, Cynthia Less-Smith, Maria Toms and Sue Wade. Renee Pilcher

Newman axe cuts deeply

THESE faces, that represent Gympie's most disadvantaged and vulnerable, have good reason to wear expressions of shock, anger, disbelief and disgust.

They are community workers on the frontline, the ones who deal with those living on the fringes of society.

They've seen first-hand how Gympie's disabled pensioners, disengaged youth, single and teen parents, and unskilled workers have found work or begun education because of support programs now suddenly axed by the State Government.

They've seen homeless people, families living below the breadline, victims of domestic violence, the mentally ill and illiterate turn to the Tenant Advice & Advocacy Service for help - also canned by the State Government in what has been touted as a cost-saving exercise.

With proven success, these community workers have set the benchmarks for the different types of services delivered under the Skilling Queenslanders for Work scheme and the Tenant Advice & Advocacy Service (TAAS).

Community workers employed in Federally-funded programs within the same area expressed grave concern for their State-funded counterparts this week.

David Asher, of Regional Training Services Qld, and Garry Davison, of Jobmatch Gympie, said the fallout from these cutbacks would be difficult to measure, but the impact was already starting to show.

"I've got 16 clients with disabilities accessing these programs," Mr Davison said.

"Where are we going to refer them now?

"A number of our clients are supported either by training or help with accommodation. These particular programs assisted in removing some of the barriers faced by Jobmatch clients.

"These programs gave them support and training.

"Without them we'll be facing these initial barriers that would have been addressed by these services. We have no alternative but to try and do it in-house now."

Support programs to cease in Gympie within the Cooloola Human Services Network are; Community Action's Get Set for Work program and TAAS, United Synergies, Participate in Prosperity and Product Placement Program.

Gympie Times


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