By ERWIN CHLANDA
Hiccups in NT Government funding for ASYASS, an Alice Springs NGO providing emergency accommodation for young people, were given “urgent priority” in talks yesterday as the organisation was unable to pay some of its bills.
ASYASS director Brian Hayes said yesterday the problems had existed for five to six months but he was confident they would be fixed.
The News was unable to contact him today.
A spokesman for the government said: “Issues relating to payment of invoices were identified last week and are being resolved by the Regional Executive Director, Central Australia as an urgent priority.”
Meanwhile Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie fired a broadside at Minister for Children and Families, Robyn Lambley, saying she “has ignored experts and slashed jobs and funding in child protection.
“Following the tragic deaths of three children known to the Office of Child and Families in the last few weeks, the CLP Government must immediately reinstate the massive cuts that have been made to child protection.
“The lives of children in the Territory are too important to be subject to the continuing arrogance and incompetence of Robyn Lambley.
“Her decision to ignore the child protection experts, abandon the Growing them Strong Together Report and axe child protection funding puts children at risk and this must immediately be addressed,” Ms Lawrie said.
She says the government has:-
• Slashed child protection funding;
• Slashed jobs in the Officer of Children and Families. Between August and October 47 jobs were cut and this figure has grown since;
• Cut funding to non government agencies at the frontline of protecting children such as NAPCAN, NTCOSS and SAFT;
• Acted against the recommendations of experts report, including Little Children are Sacred and the Board of Inquiry Report; Growing them Strong Together;
• Independent scrutiny of the CLP Government’s work in child protection has been removed with the disbanding of the Children and Families Advisory Board, and the Child Protection External Monitoring and Reporting Committee;
• Acted against the Board of Inquiry’s recommendation to have Child Protection as a standalone agency but merging it with Education;
• Sacked the Coordinator General for Indigenous Affairs;
• Opened the rivers of grog by scrapping the Banned Drinkers Register.