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Chris Kowal - 11 November 2014

Chris Kowal made the following comments in Non Agenda Public forum at the Ordinary Council Meeting on 11 November 2014.

Good afternoon Mayor and Councillors

According to recently provided figures from the Department of Housing, if you are homeless and apply for affordable public housing it's likely to be at least six years before you might get a place to call home or at least four years if you are in a special high need category.

In the Eurobodalla it believed about 140 people are classified homeless, they live in cars, couch surf, caravans, tents or sleep me quote "we are committed to improving the lifestyle for the community…"

"To be recognised as a vibrant, caring community enjoying the quality of life afforded…by excellence in community government".

Fine words to support were the outcomes.

Given the circumstances some people in our Shire may find themselves in e.g. a single mum and children escaping domestic violence, the elderly unable to afford the private rental market, the vulnerable and those with mental health issues. These are some of the people who find themselves as longer term residents in Eurobodalla Shire primitive campgrounds.

As you would be aware the management of those campgrounds has changed recently. Now the new management is telling residents to pack up and move out creating a high level of stress and worry to some of our most vulnerable members of our community. In the process there are very recent examples of intimidation, rudeness and abuse used to accomplish this end.

On asking where this has come from resident campers have been told these instructions have come from Council. IS THIS TRUE?

Has Council instructed that the "long termer" be removed from the park. I would hope this is not the case that that's what people are being told.

Is the North Head primitive campgrounds and other caretakers of Shire facilities required to abide by and apply Council's customer service policy and code of practice when dealing with park users and all members of the community? What will count for due to support any of the displaced people?

Lastly, regarding the Rifle Range Quarry item in the business paper, in this time of ICAC and open and transparent government, why are the transactions between Council and state governments Forestry Corporation being withheld from the community?

Council Reply  

Dear Chris

Thank you for your presentation at Council's Public Forum, regarding homelessness in the Eurobodalla, the North Head Primitive Campground and the Rifle Range Quarry. The following information is provided in response to your concerns.

The provision of public housing and specialist homelessness services are a state government responsibility.  In Eurobodalla Shire housing is managed by Southern Cross Community Housing and South Eastern Aboriginal Regional Management Services (SEARMS), however demand is high and waiting lists do operate.

While housing and homelessness are not a Council responsibility, Council does support a range of service providers and welfare providers operating in the sector in a variety of ways, including reduced costs for waste collection,  advocacy, direct service provision and referrals to appropriate agencies for individuals and families.

Under the Local Government (Manufactured Home Estates, Caravan parks, Camping Grounds and Moveable Dwellings) Regulations 2005 in relation to primitive camp grounds, persons are not permitted to stay for a total of more than 50 days in any 12 month period. Community members staying at North Head Primitive Campground are advised of this regulation and anyone staying past the 50 days are asked to vacate the campground. There are a few long term campers who have been on site for a number of years who have not been asked to leave.

All Council contractors are required to abide by Council's Code of Conduct and Customer Service Charter.

The arrangements we have in place for royalties for Rifle Range Gravel Pit from with Forestry NSW are commercial in confidence.

Yours sincerely

Kathy Arthur

Director

Community, Arts and Recreation Services