Community Services Centre closure will affect 'vulnerable children and families' - Southern Highland News 10/12/19 - Public Service Association

Community Services Centre closure will affect ‘vulnerable children and families’ – Southern Highland News 10/12/19

Community Services Centre closure will affect ‘vulnerable children and families’

Some of the state’s most vulnerable children and families will be affected by the closure of Bowral’s Community Services Centre.

It is understood Public Service Association (PSA) members have been advised of the plan and have made preparations to relocate services to Campbelltown.

The move has raised concerns among staff about how much further their clients will have to travel to access services, their own commutes and jobs leaving regional NSW.

PSA general secretary Stewart Little told the Southern Highland News the centre’s closure would “add a significant hurdle when it comes to delivering help”.

“Not only will [staff] be further away from those they are working with, they will also face longer commutes and more time away from their own families. This is another loss of services in a regional community,” Mr Little said.

“These members spend their days looking after the state’s most vulnerable children and families.

“During the election Premier Berejiklian promised no cuts to regional jobs, yet we continue to see jobs leaving the regions, and communities losing out on services.”

Five child protection officers and a manager will be affected by the closure.

There are also several staff who come into the office to hot-desk, including senior departmental officers.

The NSW Department of Family and Community Services recently merged with the Department of Justice to become the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ).

The news comes days after a spokesperson for Minister for Families, Communities and Disability minister Gareth Ward said “no decision” had been made on the future of the centre.

“The NSW Government is committed to the continuity of quality service for individuals in the Bowral area and the community can be assured that there will continue to be a DCJ presence in the region,” the spokesperson said.

“No decision has been made on the lease agreement for the Bowral Community Services Centre.

“Any decisions made in relation to this matter would involve extensive consultation with staff.”

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