This week, Interface Councils met with 35 Members of Parliament including Ministers, Shadow Ministers and Minor Parties across 19 meetings to talk about lifting the standard of service provided to people living in Melbourne’s outer suburbs.
Interface Councils Chair and Mayor of Wyndham City Council, Cr Mia Shaw, said the focus for the week was to show how dynamic approaches can deliver quicker outcomes for local residents and an economic return for State Government.
“There is a critical need to do more with what we already have. The priority requests that make up our Budget Submission for 2020-21 show how we can partner with State Government to improve community wellbeing and save money in the long run.
“The value of having the right conversations with governments to ensure appropriate and timely solutions are provided to Local Councils can’t be underestimated.”
The Interface Councils Region (ICR) has some of the highest instances of family violence, mental health issues including psychological distress, at risk youth, fragile families and social isolation in Victoria.
It also has 49% less family violence support and 22% less mental health support than metropolitan Melbourne.
“Local Government is the right vehicle to trial four evidence-based pilot projects that can be agile to our unique needs. We’re excited by the possibility these projects have to target gaps in essential services to improve people’s lives, Cr Shaw said.
More than 1.5 million people currently live in the outer suburbs and by 2031, they will be home to 53% of Melbourne.
Reducing rates of homelessness, long-term unemployment, alcohol and other drug issues and youth disengagement are the bottom line.
“One of our pilot projects, Y.E.S (Youth Engagement Through Sport), is modelled on a successful program in Iceland that prevents alcohol and substance abuse by using sport as a mechanism to improve the general psychological and physical wellbeing of young people.”
Investing in services into the outer suburbs earlier will mean developing communities are supported with their basic needs before a crisis hits.
Cr Shaw said that MPs agreed these funding requests are even more important in the context of the upcoming findings from the Royal Commission into Mental Health.
“This way, the government will also get more bang for buck because we are not asking for increased investment, but rather, that the money gets spent differently.”
Interface Councils are Cardinia Shire Council, City of Casey, Hume City Council, Melton City Council, Mitchell Shire Council, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, Nillumbik Shire Council, City of Whittlesea, Wyndham City Council and Yarra Ranges Shire Council.
Interface Councils Media Contact: Zoe Forbes, firstname.lastname@example.org or 0438 924 462 www.interfacecouncil.com.au