Port Lincoln youth need extra funding

FORUM: The youth justice forum on Wednesday afternoon at Mallee Park.
FORUM: The youth justice forum on Wednesday afternoon at Mallee Park.

LOCAL youth organisations have called for more funding to support the community’s young people at a youth justice forum last Wednesday. 

The Mallee Park forum was for the Youth Justice department to engage with local community groups and improve youth justice systems, but some at the forum were not happy with the level of funding given to help youth in Port Lincoln.

Port Lincoln Aboriginal Community chairperson, Jack Johncock said smaller places like Ceduna had a youth centre up and running for children after school, but Port Lincoln did not.

“Ceduna has about a quarter of our population here, yet we can’t get that funding,” he said.

“We want action.

“We want to know what you [the state government] can do for us, that’s the question.”

Mr Johncock said he did not want the state government promising things and returning in six months with no extra funding.

Youth Justice executive director, Michael Homden said his department’s job was to listen to local organisations and take on board what they were saying.

“It’s an investment,” he said in relation to the extra funding Mr Johncock requested.

“We don’t want something for months or years, we want it long term.”

West Coast Youth and Community Support chief executive officer, Jo Clark said if all youth services did not work together no initiatives would work.

“This year we had full teams in the juniors footy, in the eight years I’ve been involved with Mallee Park, I think it’s the first time I’ve seen that.” she said.

“We need to collectively work together to make sure young people and families are captured by a safety net in the community.”

Ms Clark said young people did not operate in isolation, they operated in a family unit and therefore support must be given to youth and their families.

“We’ve [local youth organisations] been advocating for the region,” she said.

“We’ve been lobbying for at least five years to the council [Port Lincoln City Council] to have a basketball court on the front street,” she said.

Ms Clark said WCYCS services funding had been cut and they could no longer run their Friday night basketball games or provide a shuttle service each Friday and Saturday night.

Similar forums are being held across the state to discuss the new four-year state plan.