Needed youth services missing from Budget: Councillor

p2122-Chansey-PaechLETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

Sir –  I am disappointed the NT Government had not allocated funding for after hours youth services in Alice Springs in this week’s Budget.

 

I had hoped the NT Government would prioritise after hours services given the recent focus on issues around young people on the streets at night [while] investments in some infrastructure projects in town are always welcome.

 

The Chief Minister and the Minister for Children and Families have been talking tough about kids out late at night but sadly they haven’t put their money where their mouth is.

 

Putting resources into services such as the former Youth Street Outreach Service and Youth Hub would have helped enormously in having an integrated approach from youth sector agencies in making sure kids at risk were targeted and families supported.

 

I am interested to see the NT Government was giving another $2.7 million to the Alice Springs Youth and Community Centre in this Budget.

 

The ASYCC received $2.5 million from the NT Government in 2014 for new and refurbished facilities, including a new gymnasium which replaced the old Government gym in the Greatorex building.

 

I congratulate the ASYCC on securing this funding and look forward to learning how this $2.7 million injection of funds will assist them in targeting and delivering much needed services to the large cohort of young people in Alice Springs who desperately need after hours activities and services.

 

I am very interested in learning about the ASYCC’s programs that may be aimed at engaging young people on the streets at night and during school holiday periods, when most of the current problems are occurring.

 

I am also interested in finding out from the NT Government why no money from the sale of TIO had been allocated to flood mitigation works in Alice Springs, as had been promised in Darwin and Katherine.

 

As Council has pointed out, flood mitigation works are a priority in Alice and we don’t want to be waiting until it’s too late.

 

I will also be asking what has happened to the $2 million allocated in last year’s Budget to a boardwalk linking the Golf Course area to the CBD. This has not been built but doesn’t seem to be mentioned in this year’s Budget.

 

Chansey Paech (pictured)

Alice Springs Town Councillor

 

 

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7 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Sean
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Hmmm. I appear to have made an error in judgement in past months on this site regarding Cr Paech’s potential as a local MLA.
    After watching and listening more closely, to his issues, questions and topics of conversations … do we see a replacement next year – next generation Snowdon? Federal Labor.
    Interestingly I have been looking to see if there’s any potential new potential CLP talent for Lingiari, yet to rise I guess.

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  2. Janet Brown
    Posted May 2, 2015 at 11:35 am

    During my life I have volunteered as a life line phone councillor and support for those participating with the Grow program.
    Most adults suffer from many issues experienced in the childhood and youth. What came through strongly was that most people had never experienced acceptance.
    Youth have so much going on and have no idea what is wrong with them and why. Anger, insecurity, guilt and low self esteem.
    And the list goes on. The one thing I have found is that all those people I was there for had never known unconditional acceptance.
    I found that no matter what was done for them nothing seemed to alter their behaviours.
    So myself and my friend Helen talked and we thought about what we could be doing. During my RE teaching at schools I found I did not approve of the messages in the lessons and spoke about self worth and accepting who you are. I spoke about the gift from God that he loves us and we are his gift.
    Every time you compare yourself or want to be someone else you deny the most precious gift and that is you.
    I would get kids to talk about what they like about others. And then the discussions would be amazing. In my first year as RE teacher for Year 4 I went from six kids one teacher to, by the middle of the year, having all Year 4 kids and six teachers.
    My message is helping the kids to see the value in who they are.
    Behaviours are normally not the true face of the kids. Acting out and anger are results of insecurities and guilt. More access to emotional wellbeing programmes is needed.

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  3. Melanie Ross
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    I’m puzzled as to why Marie and Megan have acted so defensively to Cr Paech’s comments about the Youth Centre.
    I didn’t read his comments as an attack on the Youth Centre at all, so am wondering why so sensitive.
    I spent years of my youth at the Centre and my kids have gone to gymnastics there, so I’m certainly a supporter of the place.
    But I think its a valid question as to how they target those kids on the street at night, which seems to be one of the biggest issues we are facing in town during the warmer months.
    You’ve been the beneficiary of more than $5 million of Government funding so I think its pretty fair for taxpayers to ask.
    Do you run after hours programs aimed at young people at risk?
    And I’m very interested to learn what a Wellbeing Centre is. Is this different to Headspace? And why isn’t the Youth Centre open in the holidays?

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  4. Daniel Davis
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 10:50 am

    @ Lou Hayes: Why is it that every time someone wants something to do for their children / it has to be provided by government?
    The ASYCC is run mostly by volunteers, as pointed out by Megan, and has been the case historically.
    If all those kicking up a stink about programs each put their hand up for a few hours in holidays or after school there would be plenty of holiday activities available but it seems everyone is just too happy to sit around complaining about the government not providing it for them.
    The ASYCC has plenty of activities for kids, I was there last night with my son who does Shotokan Karate.
    On any given afternoon you will find around 100 people (just my guess) utilising the venue.
    The gym is available to the public, not just public servants.
    Do you not think it is best for the government to invest in services available to all the public rather than just a select few public servants as was the case with the old government gym?
    I would suggest you take a look at the ASYCC website to see what it offers and find out about the use of facilities.

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  5. Marie Petery
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Dear Chansey,
    It’s a shame you never took up the offer made by the ASYCC to all councillors to come to the centre to find out what the ASYCC contributes to our community.
    This offer is still open for you to take at any time.
    For both yours and the reader’s information, the ASYCC had over 35,000 participants in our activities in 2014, and was made up of a diverse group of Alice Springs community members.
    Yes we did receive $2.5m in 2013. This wasn’t to build a new gymnasium to replace the old Government Gym as you stated in your letter.
    The Greatorex Gym rents out one of our old buildings. The income we generate from this contributes to the costs of running the centre. Our current income allows us to cover costs and hire 1.5 staff members, which I am sure all of the Alice Springs Community can see is not adequate staffing to run after hours programs.
    The majority of the ASYCC programs are run by a dedicated group of volunteers, we are extremely fortunate to have these volunteers who keep the ASYCC running, as it has for the past 65 years.
    The $2.5m grant was to upgrade and extend the old gymnastic building to create a multipurpose hall and to build a new administration office. Out of this new space the ASYCC runs gymnastics (4 days a week), circus (2 days a week), and early childhood playtime (2 mornings a week).
    The space is hired out to a multicultural play group once a week, family day care monthly and private functions, including the Alice Springs Festival, to name a few.
    This new area alone has been utilised by over 350 families in the past 12 months, a great benefit to the community.
    The new capital funding will enable us to complete Stages 3 and 4 of our 8 stage Site Development Plan. A win win for the entire community.
    This new upgrade will allow us to form a partnership with an outside organisation to operate a Youth Wellbeing Centre.
    The Wills Terrace frontage will be transformed into a purposefully built Well-being Centre with a new building adjoining our old administration / recreation building. This will be an amazing facility for all our young people.
    Marie.

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  6. Lou Hayes
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 8:28 am

    Funny, I went to take my grandson there over the holidays and it was closed. What kind of youth centre is closed over the holidays?
    I recently found out that the government gym has been moved to the youth centre, so now I know why they are getting $$$$.
    Giles just using it to upgrade his equipment.
    Sad that the Government hasn’t allocated any funds to any other youth service providers like the Gap Youth Centre. Wonder what programs the $2.7m will deliver?
    Megan, maybe ASYCC should look at working in partnership with other youth services because as a grandmother of a young person I’m always looking for programs and things for him to do. So you could work with people to put together a holiday program.

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  7. Megan
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 12:44 am

    Maybe you need to get your facts right. The Alice Springs Youth and Community Centre provides structured sports and recreational programs for the whole community.
    The funding that has been provided by the government has been for much needed facility upgrades, not for funding after hour programs.
    The centre is run by volunteers and a staffing pool of 1.5 people which is all the operational funding that the centre gets.
    In order to run after hour and holiday program there is a need to have more than two staff members.
    The ASYCC provides Alice Springs as a community a friendly, safe and inclusive location for all of Alice Springs’ residents to participate in sports and recreational activities.
    So before you disregard the value of the Youth Centre perhaps you need to take a closer look at what it offers the community of Alice Springs, both past and present.

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