THE MORNINGTON PENINSULA – DISADVANTAGE, HOMELESSNESS AND POVERTY
Welcome to this the second series of “Getting to Know You” – and the first to be televised. My name is Gavin Williams.
The Mornington Peninsula is a lovely part of Australia. Its beautiful countryside, beaches, vineyards and wines, as well as its restaurants and fine food attract huge numbers to live and to holiday.
There is, however, another side to the Peninsula – a “dark underbelly” – which get little or no exposure.
To set the scene. Across the Peninsula:
- there are significant pockets of disadvantage;
- a sizeable number of households are living in or near poverty;
- many people do not live in a secure and safe environment;
- homeless is a real problem with increasing numbers unable to get into the housing market;
- educational performance and student engagement is poor in some schools and some parts of the Peninsula;
- Domestic violence, drugs, inability to get a job and mental health issues all add to the problem.
So it’s not a pretty picture. But what are we doing to fix it?
To discuss these issues I am joined today by four people who spend a good deal of their daily lives on the front line of these problems:
- Kara Van Der Heyde, Housing and Support Case Worker at Western Port Community Support;
- Judy Cooper, Co-ordinator, Homelessness & Support Services on the Peninsula with the Salvation Army.
- Stephanie Exton, Executive Director, Mornington Peninsula Foundation; and
- Cr Sam Hearn, Mayor of the Mornington Peninsula Shire.
The Issues – For Discussion
- Was the brief outline I just presented a fair summary of the issues? Or did I exaggerate the nature and extent of the problem?
- What do the statistics tell us about the disadvantage on the Peninsula. Who/which groups comprise the disadvantaged – and where are they? What are the main causes of their disadvantage?
- What is the number one social problem on the Peninsula? What key changes are required to reduce social disadvantage on the Peninsula?
- What is the focus of your organisation in helping people living in distress? What practical assistance do you provide? What happens when you are simply unable to provide such assistance?
- On a global scale, Australia’s educational performance and outcomes are mediocre at best. Why is the educational performance in some Peninsula schools and locations even worse? How widespread is this poor performance?
- What is the role of government and of all three tiers – local, state and federal. Is it largely just to provide funds for projects? What more should they be doing? What are the priorities of the Mornington Shire? And what of the role of the private sector and private philanthropy?
- Why do these social problems get so little mainstream media attention and publicity? Is there, maybe, just some truth (as has been suggested to me) that a “conspiracy of silence” exists, designed to protect the glossy image of the Peninsula?
To Draw the Program to an End:
- If you were all powerful, had a magic wand and bucket loads of money what are the one or two things you would do to reduce social disadvantage on the Peninsula?
More at www.rppv.com.au