Loss of Community Safety Patrol in Central Desert

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

Sir – The Central Desert Regional Council (CDRC) is disappointed  that proposed funding changes to our community safety patrol program puts remote Indigenous jobs at risk, as well as removing a vital service.

 

For many years the CDRC has run a strong and reliable service throughout its eleven communities, employing local workers and offering a high degree of safety and security to each community’s residents.

 

In April 2019 the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet proposed further funding to continue the service, but under different conditions to previous contractual terms and without any consultation.

 

The department decided to reduce administrative fees from 15% to 10%. These monies cover indirect costs that provide support services to the program, such as human resources, work health and safety, finance, payroll, governance and business support.

 

CDRC has managed its indirect costs and reduced these to 15%, which is best of breed for a not-for-profit with our geographical spread.

 

To accept this change, CDRC would need to subsidise this Federal program, a financially irresponsible decision that would require diverting funds from core local government programs.

 

We have been advised that this was a decision made by the outgoing Minister and therefore, the department cannot overturn it.

 

We made strong attempts to get this matter resolved by the July 1 deadline, including escalating to the new Minister and attempting to get a meeting when I and President Adrian Dixon will be were in Canberra.

 

We have been able to offer work alternatives to our staff who wanted to continue work. Unfortunately, with time running out, we are winding up and staff who have not accepted another job will be paid redundancies.

 

We look forward to additional discussions.

 

Diane Hood (pictured)

CEO, Central Desert Regional Council

 

 

 

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