PiP case manager Lee Prince with client Graham Wolgast, who benefited from the program before it was axed.
PiP case manager Lee Prince with client Graham Wolgast, who benefited from the program before it was axed. Contributed

State cuts to hurt Gympie

HUNDREDS of disadvantaged people in Gympie will suffer at the hands of the Queensland Government and its funding cutbacks aimed at reining in state debt.

Services in Gympie that assisted people to gain employment, educated and steered wayward youth and gave single parents life skills have been axed along with a number of programs across Queensland that provided help to the disadvantaged.

David Asher, of Regional Training Services Qld, said while his organisation did not lose any funding, he was appalled the cuts by the new State Government directly affected the most vulnerable in society.

He said some of the programs axed were the highest achieving of the state and had set benchmarks for the support they gave clients.

"All these not-for-profit groups deserve our support. They need it to survive," he said.

Besides the Participate in Prosperity (PiP) program auspiced by Cooloola Human Services Network in Gympie, some other local programs to cease are Community Action's Get Set for Work program and the United Synergies program that helped disadvantaged youth; the Productivity Placement Program, and a life skills program for single parents. Mr Asher said many not-for-profit groups had been relying on funding through the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative to provide training for the unemployed.

He believed about eight people (social workers and trainers) would get the flick and "hundreds and hundreds" of Gympie people would suffer because of the funding cuts.

Gympie MP David Gibson said he understood the disappointment expressed in the community about the cuts to funding, especially the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program.

"This program has benefited many of the unemployed in our community and it is no secret that Gympie has strugg

led for many years with an unemployment rate higher than both the state and federal rates," he said. "But the harsh reality is that our community is being hit twice for Labor's maladministration. The real blame must lie at the feet of the previous Labor government.

"At the moment the state has to borrow to pay the wages each week for our public servants and cutting programs like Skilling Queenslanders for Work will mean that we can protect the local jobs of our nurses, teachers and police officers."

Gympie Times


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