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Voluntary agency shows government the way



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Richard Alston Liberal Senator for Victoria SHADOW MINISTER FOR SOCIAL SECURITY

NEWS RELEASE, «VOLUNTARY A G E N C Y S H O W S G O V E R N M E N T T H E W A Y The Minister for Social Security, Senator Richardson, would do well to heed the advice of the Open Family Foundation - as well as Premiers Goss and Greiner - and get on with the job of de-

bureaucratising welfare.

Instead of fighting a desperate rear guard action against the devolution of many welfare functions to the States, Senator Richardson ought to acknowledge the obvious - that the present system of providing services to the community is complex and overly bureaucratic and in urgent need of review.

As the National Director of the Foundation, Nathan Stirling, has stated so graphically! “The system as it stands is not client centred” with "a frightful lack of co-ordination between statutory and welfare authorities and SAAP funded youth

organisations".

The Foundation's letter to the Minister is a devastating

indictment of the present Government's hand-out mentality which sees everything in terms of housing and money.

As the Foundation states, "young people without meaningful relationships in their lives who have been damaged and confused b y society are not satisfied b y dollars and cents. The real horror of their situation has little to do with a lack of housing

or money, nor with alcohol and syringes".

Just as regrettable is the Government's ideological mind set against the use of volunteers. The ALP has long been firmly captured by hardline elements of the professional social worker industry which see no place for "enthusiastic amateurs".

As the Foundation says, "there seems to be an almost deliberate attempt to discourage volunteers within the community to respond in what might be regarded as old fashioned ways for the care of children".

The Foundation's call for policy flexibility in the delivery of services underlines the importance of community-based rather than Canberra—based solutions.

It is time the Government listened to those who have

responsibility for delivering welfare rather than simply theorising about it.

For further information contact: Senator Richard Alston on [06] 277 3605 17 April 1991

C O M M O N W F A i T ;- - S

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