THERE are implications when public servants and publically-funded services fail to deliver.
We saw that all too clearly last week when it was revealed that the new arrangements for access and referral to drug, alcohol and mental health services are not working well.
The access and referral process is taking too long and the number of people being supported is falling at a time when there appears to be increased demand for those services.
And when the people that need access to those services can’t get help in a reasonable timeframe, a large number of people are made to suffer, both directly and indirectly.
The same can also be said when local government fails to deliver a reasonable level of community services.
At the ice forum in Wonthaggi last Thursday night, western suburbs youth outreach worker, Les Twentyman, said one of the groups at highest risk of falling into drug and alcohol abuse and crime is those ejected, rejected or otherwise estranged from the school system at a young age.
Mr Twentyman said that a lot of his time is used picking up those individuals and making sure they are connected to worthwhile pursuits including employment, volunteering and sports.
Former police commissioner Ken Lay also stressed the importance of youth counsellors and programs that aim to include these kids.
Leaders of sporting clubs do great work too in keeping kids actively engaged, but they can’t do it without facilities.
That’s where local government comes in providing the sports and community facilities wanted by kids who would otherwise “have too much time on their hands”.
And one facility that is surely lacking in Wonthaggi is a decent dual-court basketball/indoor sports stadium, something that many towns far smaller than Wonthaggi already have.
The redevelopment of the Wonthaggi aquatic centre is progressing, we are told, but funding looks to be a major issue.
Phillip Island’s aquatic centre also seems to be unaffordable.
And it is long since time that the Wonthaggi’s netball courts were redeveloped. We’re told that is also supposed to happen, along with better skateparks and other projects that had, until recently, been overlooked for too long.
The fact is, when you don’t have a reasonable level of social amenity in a community, you get problems.
We all know that it is getting almost impossible to operate local government in rural areas for one reason or another but if it is getting to the point now where they are failing to deliver these much-needed services for our kids – something has got to change.