WHITTLESEA Council, along with all other councils on Melbourne’s fringe, is seeing rapid population growth which is increasing the need for local support services, while placing significant pressure on existing services and providers according to a report released at the end of last year.
The Interface Councils Human Service Gap Analysis Report revealed that significant gaps in health and human service provision continue to affect 1.6 million residents in interface municipalities.
The report shows that mental health support, housing and homelessness support, family violence support, allied health services, alcohol and other drugs services, child protection and disability support all fall short in Melbourne’s interface region.
City of Whittlesea Mayor, Cr Kris Pavlidis told the Whittlesea Review that as the population continues to grow at a rapid rate the municipality not only faces gaps in infrastructure, such as roads, but also in human services.
“The recently released Interface Councils Human Services Gap Analysis Report has revealed there are significant gaps in mental health support, housing and homelessness support, family violence support, allied health services, alcohol and other drugs services, education (ie schools), and disability support in the outer suburbs,” she said.
“We will continue to lobby the state government for increased funding for these services in the City of Whittlesea.”
“We have one of the highest levels of family violence in our city with statistics showing local police attend an average of 55 family violence incidents each week. This is an area where we particularly need extra support.”
“We are joining the Interface Councils group to request an immediate injection of funding to bridge critical health and human service gaps in the outer suburbs.”
The report confirms that families in interface areas face a total estimated funding gap of $175 million per annum across various service areas that directly impact daily life.
“The report tells a tale of numbers. But in reality, it’s the quality of people’s lives that are being compromised by an inability to access health and wellbeing support where they need it,” an interface councils spokesperson said.
“Notably, the numbers in this report represent the many people – women in particular – experiencing the hardships of family violence and who don’t know where to go for safety and support in times of crisis,” he added.
The report recommends that interface councils request an immediate injection of funding to bridge critical health and human service gaps in the impacted municipalities.
“Going forward, reform of the service delivery system is required to make sure it can respond to constant population growth and changing demographics as well as enable long-term and localised solutions to the service disparity that currently exists,” the report adds.
Interface councils will be working with the Victorian Government to trial a new approach to service delivery to start moving towards a more positive reality where residents can access the health and human support they need, regardless of where they live.
The Human Service Gap Analysis Report was commissioned by Melbourne’s interface councils to understand the significant service provision gap in and to indicate reasons for geographical service distribution.