New Community Services Minister Sabine Winton has floundered in Question Time this week when asked by Opposition Leader Shane Love for specifics about evident gaps in the McGowan Labor Government’s Target 120 program.
Mr Love said it was simply not good enough for the Minister to make excuses about complexities of remote locations, saying it will take even longer for the expanded sites to be delivered.
“Of the nine additional Target 120 locations promised by the McGowan Labor Government in May last year, seven of them are yet to see the program delivered, after nine months of waiting,” Mr Love said.
“The program described by the Government as ‘a great success’ has not reached a single household in Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing, Derby, Karratha, Newman, Carnarvon, or Mandurah.
“The Minister for Community Services maintains the program is ‘rolled out’, and yet in a number of the locations which need this support most, the McGowan Labor Government is yet to recruit youth support officers, yet to engage families, and yet to ‘roll out’ this program in any way.”
Mr Love said what the Minster described in Question Time and what is felt across the regional towns are very different things, and communities are rightly asking how much longer they will have to wait to access this support program.
“This week in Parliament, we have seen McGowan’s Cabinet attempt to swerve tough questions on crime, by pointing to a program which pales in comparison to what was promised,” he said.
“Parliamentary questions revealed more than 170 families refused to be part of the program, and the McGowan Labor Government can’t tell us what happens next for those who still need support.”
Shadow Minister for Child Protection Libby Mettam used Question Time to ask the new Minister for Child Protection whether she has been briefed on the 90-minute crisis talk on the youth justice system and Banksia Hill Detention Centre, held last year.
“The Minister said given she was not at the meeting, she is not responsible for the solutions discussed which is an appalling excuse,” Ms Mettam said.
“The Minister responsible for the Department and the pet-program which is meant to support families in keeping their children out of the youth justice system, is somehow not responsible for solutions.
“This Minister has barely put her feet under the desk and already she is shirking her responsibility, she also refused to table detail of the meeting which the community is yet to see.
“Instead of being open and honest with the people of Western Australia about the problems plaguing Banksia Hill, she asked for the question to be redirected to someone else.
“As youth crime spirals out-of-control on the McGowan Labor Government’s watch, holistic wrap-around support programs like Target 120 have never been more important.