Following fears that a state government funding shake-up could put family centres at risk, Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup has stepped up in support of the Falcon Family Centre.
Until now, neighbourhood centres across Western Australia such as the Falcon Family Centre and the Greenfields Family and Community Centre received funding from the state government to cover rent and service operating costs.
However, the new model proposed by the state government means the services would be put out to competitive tender for the first time in more than 20 years.
Regional neighbourhood centres would then be up against big service providers to access a funding pool to operate the services, which would no longer be linked to a specific geographical location.
Mr Kirkup said he didn’t oppose the new tender process, however he said he was concerned about metropolitan providers taking over services in regional areas.
He said he was planning to put a case to the state government for regional centres to be assessed as preferred tender applicants for regional areas to metropolitan service providers.
“We want to make sure that local providers who already have a local history here are given a head-start to those who operate metropolitan centres,” he said.
“So that when the government is deciding as part of this tender process where to put the money into neighbourhood centres, local providers in a regional setting are preferred tender applicants.”
The Falcon Family Centre has been operating as a safe space for local organisations, community groups and residents since 1993.
Residents in the Falcon area can go to the centre to visit a child care nurse, access activity rooms, join playgroups, hire community spaces, and visit the men’s shed.
“They’ve been doing a great job and to me no one wants to see them walk away from that centre, no one wants to see that centre no longer offer those services,” Mr Kirkup said.
“The prospect that we are facing with the current government’s proposal is a Perth-based provider closing the centre in Falcon and consolidating the service somewhere else in Mandurah.
“We need to make sure that the Falcon Family Centre stays in Falcon.”