The Australian Greens are urging the Federal Government to ensure that a successful men’s service in WA's east Kimberley that has been widely praised for tackling alcohol abuse and reducing domestic violence is not forced to close its doors next week.
“Wamba Nilgee Burru Ngardu, also known as Derby Men's Service, accommodates about 60 men a week – providing a place to eat, sleep and wash, while supporting them to turn their lives around,” Senator Rachel Siewert said.
“Since it was originally funded as a pilot project by the Federal Attorney General’s Department in 2001, it has proven highly successful in addressing family and community violence and it has widely acknowledged for the way it has helped strengthen families and communities.
“However, this service has suffered from stop-start funding, and as of next Wednesday 30 September it will have to shut down. Despite applying to nine different sources for funding since June with the support of local government, police and State and Federal parliamentarians, this successful service cannot secure funding from governments that are supposedly committed to 'Closing the Gap'.
“Over the years, it has received both Federal and State funding from a variety of grants programs including Safer WA (State), Working with Adolescents (Federal), Regional Solutions (Federal), Local Answers (Federal) and through a Shared Responsibility Agreement (Federal and State).
“From the responses recently given to questions in State Parliament my colleague, WA Greens Mining and Pastoral MLC Robin Chapple it appears that the State Government also has no intention of funding this service," Senator Siewert said.
“I have therefore written as a matter of urgency to Jenny Macklin, Federal Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, asking her to act swiftly to find another way to ensure that this important and successful program can continue to operate.
"Men's services are a crucial element of a comprehensive strategy to addressing family violence and the reasons behind atrocious health outcomes for Aboriginal Australians."
"We will never succeed in closing the gap if we continue to leave the men out," Senator Siewert concluded.
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