Image for Acting on ongoing social problems in the Bridgewater, Gagebrook and Herdsman Cove

Greens Gain Support to Develop Strategy to Improve Services

The Tasmanian Greens today announced progress in establishing tripartite support to respond to a Greens’ commissioned report into community services in the Brighton Municipality late last year, which identified the need to address ongoing social problems in the Bridgewater, Gagebrook and Herdsman Cove area.

Greens Deputy Leader and Member for Lyons Tim Morris MP said that a meeting held yesterday of representatives of State Lyons Members, Brighton Councillors and Senator Carol Browns’ office, which he hosted, took a positive step forward to developing a genuine focus on addressing youth support for this region.

The Parliamentary Intern report utilised data that compared Brighton and Central Coast municipalities because of their similar population numbers and other comparable factors.

Mr Morris welcomed the involvement of both Labor and Liberal Members who attended the meeting held at his electorate office which began work to develop strategies to tackle the issues identified in the report.

“It was heartening to see Members of all political persuasions, come together to this serious issue surrounding youth services for the Bridgewater, Gagebrook and Herdsmans Cove area,” Mr Morris said.

“The Greens are determined to improve the lives of the disadvantaged families in this area, some of whom have had the same issues for generations.”

“The report shows that the Brighton Municipality is seriously lacking in services and facilities when compared to another like-sized council such as Central Coast Municipality, particularly relating to issues surrounding youth, although we welcome the Council’s willingness to work with us on finding ways to boost youth services.”

“It is clear that there is a lot of catching up to do if the statistics for school attendance, educational achievement, employment and crime rates are to get to the state average, and this will require additional effort and services by Local, State and Federal government.”

“Today’s meeting was able to establish that some good progress has been made in identifying gaps, however at least one position aimed at improving school attendance is yet to be finalised and filled, and the youth worker position at the PCYC where promised funding by council has not yet been forthcoming and the Councils Community Liaison Officer is on long term leave and has no one acting in the position.”

Mr Morris’ commissioned report, Bridgewater/Gagebrook: What it is, What it could be 2010 highlights a series of consistent themes within the Brighton Municipality, including:

• Educational underachievement and crime frequency (only 67% of students attend high school on any one day, and crime frequency is consistently increasing) (1)
• Lack of macro level support for community groups and limited support for youth especially in the 8-18 yr old bracket and stigma (although municipality is youth demographic capital of Tasmania) (2)
• The difficulty for community groups to provide ongoing services because of funding instability (3)

“I want to thank all those involved for attending today and look forward to working with them again in the future to guarantee that these recommendations get implemented to provide the best possible support to local youth and young families, and in the future,” Mr Morris said.

Download: Parliamentary Intern Report commissioned by Tim Morris MP, Bridgewater/Gagebrook: What it is, What it could be, D. Phelan, 2010:

(1) Bridgewater/Gagebrook: What it is, What it could be, D. Phelan, 2010, pg 35.
(2) Bridgewater/Gagebrook: What it is, What it could be, D. Phelan, 2010, pg 5.
(3) Sentiment provided as feedback from various community groups.