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Youth service debate continues on Monday

THE decision to provide youth services internally at the Shire of Mundaring could be revoked at a special council meeting this Monday.

Councillor Jason Russell moved an alternative motion to deliver the shire’s youth services internally through a partnership funding program at the May Council meeting.

His motion was hotly opposed by almost half the present councillors who wanted the services operated by MercyCare as recommended by staff. 

Cr Russell’s motion won 6-5 with the support of Shire president John Daw, councillors Kate Driver, Doug Jeans, James Martin and Ian Green. 

The purpose of the special meeting on Monday, May 21 is to consider a motion by Cr Stephen Fox to rescind the previous decision and to consider other options. 

Cr Russell listed value for money, internal program benefits, shire accountability and control and wider reach potential as reasons to support an internally based youth services program. 

“Having a youth coordinator in house means we can build our own capacity and this is something we will benefit from over time,” he said.

“We’ve seen this work before so well, like in the bushcare coordinator role, where we saw real improvements in environmental outcomes when we have a full-time person delivery in this.”

Cr Brennan opposed the alternative motion and said it presented risks and exposed the shire to gaps in service delivery.

“This has been the result of a rigorous extensive community engagement and consultation process and feedback from youth and individuals who gave us their comments on what they wanted,” he said.

“The shire then went out and we received a tender which dealt with all the aspects we’ve asked for. 

“I think that’s the safe, prudent and responsible course of action because we do know they can deliver on what we were told was important to those people engaged in this process.”

MercyCare family and youth services executive director Lyn Millett spoke at the meeting.

“Listening, mentoring and supporting our young people is time consuming, it’s complex and it requires a skill set that is well beyond a single youth worker,” she said.

“We provide a full calendar of youth activities which is based on current things around social media and seek as much as possible to employ local staff. 

“Our youth have already shown the value we can bring as an organisation associated with grass-roots based youth organisations that work within the needs and strengths of the local community.”

Delivery of a program under MercyCare would cost the shire $216,200 per year for three years while a youth partnership funding program within the shire’s youth programs would cost up to $145,542 per year.

By Claire Ottaviano

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Echo News gives readers an alternative to other media outlets in WA and enjoys a very high rate of readership in its distribution area. Our Echo News team are a small group of devoted individuals who work hard to give the local community an easy to read, yet intelligent mix of local community stories.

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