Scomo visits Umina Beach

Prime Minister Scott Morrison ad Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks, chat to RYSS staff and clients

With the Federal Election just a week away, Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited Umina Beach (May 11) and made a number of promises if the Coalition is re-elected on May 21.

Accompanied by Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks, and candidate for Dobell, Michael Feneley, Morrison pledged $137,000 to upgrade the Umina CWA hall, $1.4M to establish a Regional Youth Support Services (RYSS) hub on the Peninsula and an additional $40M to improve the quality of the region’s roads (see separate story).

Morrison said strong families make a strong country, but not everyone has the same experience of life.

“That’s why strong communities are so important,” he said.

“And strong communities have many components.

He said the Liberals’ plan was to “back in” those groups which help build community.

The money for the CWA hall would be used, along with around $70,000 raised by the Country Women’s Association, to upgrade the facility into a refuge centre for use during natural disasters.

The work would include disability access, a new entry, modern bathrooms, updates to the kitchen, an outdoor deck and storage facilities.

Wicks said the upgrade would make the facility more user-friendly.

“The Umina Beach branch of the CWA is always giving back to the local community (and) I am proud to be part of a government that is giving back to them and to the many people who use the hall on the peninsula,” Wicks said.

“This upgrade will mean the hall can be used as a refuge centre in the case of flood, fire or any other natural disaster.”

The Hall provides low-cost rent for AA meetings, dance classes, scrabble groups, Sunday School for Hope Church and meditation classes.

The $1.4M investment into a Youth Hub on the peninsula would assist RYSS in its work with at risk youth to divert them from the criminal justice system and reduce instances of anti-social behaviour, Wicks said.

She said it would help more than 500 marginalised and at-risk youth.

“This project follows a number of community meetings with local business owners, the Brisbane Water Local Area Command, Central Coast Council, various youth organisations and community organisations about escalating crime and anti-social behaviour on the Peninsula,” Wicks said.

She said the hub would build on the work of the Gosford Youth Hub, which is already providing innovative solutions for families and works with high-risk young people.

“Every young person deserves someone who believes in them and the opportunity to live their potential,” she said.

“That is what these youth hubs are all about.”

Young people in the community would be able to seek assistance from the Hub through self-referrals and direct referrals.

The Hub would receive support from community agencies, the private sector and government departments.

RYSS CEO, Kim McLoughry, said the project aims to support people who may be at high risk of becoming involved with the criminal justice system, reduce reliance on welfare and support the wellbeing, resilience and employability of young people.

“The Peninsula deserves a Youth Hub to meet the demand for direct services to local young people and connect up the supports that young people aged 12 to 25 require whilst living in challenging times,” she said.

“We must have safe spaces for young people to access; the community wants to reduce crime, support locals and see our young people flourish.”

Terry Collins

From left: Candidate for Dobell, Michael Feneley, Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, RYSS CEO Kim McLoughry, RYSS Board member Ray Southeren and RYSS Board member Bobbi Murray

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