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Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Page: 808


Mr BILLSON (4:19 PM) —Mornington Peninsula Youth Enterprises has been helping our community for a decade and now it needs our help. It was established mainly to help people whose lives have gone off the rails, those who are too difficult to work with, those with issues of substance abuse and other behavioural challenges, to give them a chance to find themselves, to get a solid footing in their lives, to address those other factors and then move forward with opportunities for the future. Russell Ardley, former Citizen of the Year of Mornington Peninsula shire, and his very committed band of volunteer committee members and the many dozens of volunteers who help out need our help now.

There has been a withdrawal of Work for the Dole places from Mornington Peninsula Youth Enterprises. They used to work very closely, and still do, with what was Your Employment Solutions, but then that got bought out by WorkDirections and now has had another incarnation. The net result is those Work for the Dole programs are not available any longer and the funding that accompanied them, that underpinned some of the operating budget of Mornington Peninsula Youth Enterprises, is not there either. So they are now facing an operating budget shortfall of about $50,000 a year.

But rather than sit back and sulk and get unhappy about these things, Russell and the team are looking for new revenue opportunities. In those 10 years they established a number of activities that help support their overall training and youth support functions: delivering training as a registered training organisation; a plant nursery; support for environmental care projects; metalwork; art; and woodwork. They even have a farmers market. All operate as part of a broad community that is engaged and activity focused.

They are also looking at propagating mangroves. It is not an easy task. We are on the Port Phillip side of the peninsula. The Western Port side has quite an extensive remangroving operation. Harvesting stock for mangroves is not an easy thing to do. Russell is looking at doing that and we should support that endeavour. It is an innovative way of dealing with the financial difficulties that Mornington Peninsula Youth Enterprises faces.

To those members of our community wanting to help, consider buying some of the locally propagated native plants from the nursery; to local community organisations, look at getting your training through the RTO; to local businesses looking for training in horticulture, handling chainsaws, first aid and the like, consider getting it through MPYE; and to local councils looking at revegetation programs, think about MPYE as a source for that revegetation stock.

In the few seconds that I have left I really need to address the future of Frankston Reservoir. The state government, through the Department of Sustainability and Environment, has said to Frankston City Council, ‘Here it is. Take it or leave it.’ Of the $2 million that was there supposedly to accompany the transfer, about $400,000 to $500,000 has already been used just maintaining it. We need to make sure that that resource is properly managed for the future. It is not a ‘hospital pass’ that local taxpayers need to pay for. We need to find a sustainable solution. (Time expired)