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Nationals raise issue of Desert Blue Geraldton funding

Jamie ThannooGeraldton Guardian
Member for Moore Shane Love and State Opposition Leader Mia Davies in Geraldton.
Camera IconMember for Moore Shane Love and State Opposition Leader Mia Davies in Geraldton. Credit: Phoebe Pin/RegionalHUB

Opposition leader Mia Davies and MLA Shane Love have raised the issue of funding shortages at Geraldton’s Desert Blue Connect charity.

In speeches on Wednesday, both the Opposition Leader and Member for Moore discussed how the welfare organisation was struggling to hire and pay staff due to a difficult economic situation and expressed concern with the pressure this put on it.

Desert Blue Connect provides a number of services addressing issues such as domestic violence, sexual assault, child protection and unplanned pregnancy support.

The Nationals leader and deputy leader told State Parliament that the charity had seen its funding increase by only 3.53 per cent in the past year, not in line with the increase in wages which have risen by 5.1 per cent.

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Mr Love said the charity, like many in the region, was also struggling to attract staff due to the lack of housing in Geraldton.

These factors, he said, were putting more pressure on the organisation at a time when its work was very much needed.

“All these things are happening at a time when there has been a spike in mental health issues caused by the COVID pandemic, combined with people in the area still struggling to recover from cyclone Seroja,” Mr Love said.

Ms Davies echoed this sentiment.

“Desert Blue Connect is really struggling,” Ms Davies said.

“It is a good organisation that has worked hard to try to address some of the challenges that it sees in the region.”

Desert Blue Connect was contacted but did not want to comment.

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