Funding to benefit Illawarra region youth services

Services for young people with high needs in the Illawarra region will be improved with the announcement of $2.26 million in funding for a $4.83 million therapeutic care service.

Federal Minister for Regional Australia Simon Crean today announced that funding for the centre has been provided to Youth Off the Streets Inc as part of the first round of the Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF), worth almost $1 billion.

The project, located in Cordeaux Heights, involves the refurbishment of a 1970s style detention centre into a care centre for 16 people with high needs.

The existing facility will be transformed into a modern, environmentally conscious facility providing services based on innovative therapy models and rehabilitation for young people.

“Project Cordeaux will directly support the regional community buy establishing services that produce both a community service and an educational output,” Mr Crean said.

Member for Cunningham Sharon Bird said this was a great project that will not only benefit the local community, but the surrounding regional areas as well.

“Helping young people with high needs in their community will create better health outcomes. This centre will provide culturally sensitive management services, including psychological support and intervention by on-site psychologists,” she said.

“Their education needs will be managed by in a learning environment that caters to a student’s individual needs.

“The regional economy will also benefit from utilising local construction companies, retail trades, education services and health and community services.”

Member for Throsby Stephen Jones also welcomed funding for this project. “It is terrific to see worthy social projects like this one being built in the Illawarra region,” he said.

“I know that when finished, this project will make an enormous difference to many young lives.”

The project is endorsed by Regional Development Australia (RDA) Illawarra.

The RDAF program supports the infrastructure needs and economic growth of Australia’s regions.

It is designed to leverage state, commonwealth, local government, private and notfor-profit investments.

In Round One, $150 million in grant funding has been provided to 35 projects around Australia leveraging a total of around $418 million in project costs.

RDA committees played a major role in working with local communities to identify projects that were consistent with their regional plans.

The Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel, Mr Christian Zahra, will assist with a review of RDAF Round One and provide recommendations to the Minister to consider implementing for Round Two and subsequent rounds of the program.

This review will consider ways in which the impact of the program might be strengthened and the application process streamlined.

Round Two of the RDAF program will be valued at $150 million, with applications to open in November this year.