ORANGE’S migrant support service has received a reprieve, with news it will no longer have to stretch to Bathurst, Mudgee and Lithgow.
After lobbying from Bathurst City Council last week, member for Calare Andrew Gee announced $84,000 in interim funding had been secured to keep a support worker employed at Bathurst’s Neighbourhood Centre for at least a year.
The Department of Social Services had taken the funding away amid lower numbers, which would have left Orange’s service to fill the void, in addition to the work it already carried out in Parkes and Forbes.
“Orange City Council’s total funding for migrant support services and activities has increased over three years [to] $365,680.89, however the area it had to cover for migrant support has expanded significantly,” Mr Gee said in a statement.
Orange City Council would have stepped up and done our best, but it would have been at a reduced level of service.Orange mayor Reg Kidd
“In my discussions with Orange City Council, they have made it very clear that if the migrant support role can be retained at Bathurst, it will be able to handle the rest of its area effectively.”
Mayor Reg Kidd said the fast turnaround was great news.
“If Bathurst wasn’t able to do that work, Orange City Council would have stepped up and done our best, but it would have been at a reduced level of service if we had to cover Lithgow, Mudgee and Bathurst as well,” he said.
“The important work that Orange City Council has done for years to support migrant families can now continue.”
Mr Gee said the department and Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher would conduct an investigation into the number of migrants assisted during the past three years.
“Having reviewed all of the data, it’s clear that while the numbers did drop, they were well and truly on the way up.”
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