Phoenix Budget lifeline

KING ISLAND’S Phoenix Community House has been thrown a lifeline with increased State Government funding expected to prevent staff being laid off and programs cut.

The State Budget included an additional $76,061 in funding for Phoenix House which has been relying on Commonwealth funding that is due to expire at the end of June. Phoenix House coordinator Sally Haneveer said they were grateful the Government accepted their budget submission to increase funding. “This funding brings us in line with funding received from the Tasmanian Government to Rosebery and Zeehan Neighbourhood Houses on the West Coast of Tasmania who experience the same hardships as us, such as isolation, high cost of living and remoteness,” Ms Haneveer said.

“It comes at an opportune time for us, as at the 30th June Federal funding ceases and without this state funding we would have been putting staff off and reducing programs and services to the king island community “ Community Services and Development Minister Nic Street said the funding would ensure continued activities, programs and supports for the King Island community. 

“Phoenix Community House has a vital role in delivering a range of activities and programs for the King Island community, with many community members relying on being able to access essential services that the house provides,” Mr Street said.

The Tasmanian Government is providing $5.2 million in new funding for community houses across the state. “We thank Phoenix Community House, their workers and volunteers for their dedication and support to their community and for helping to ensure King Islanders receive the care and support they need when they need it.” Other State Budget funding previously announced for King Island and confirmed in last week’s budget documents includes a share of $1.3 million to support full time Biosecurity officers, funds to underwrite flights between Hobart and King Island and the upgrade of police housing at Currie.

The State Government is also providing $1 million towards the $2 million power network infrastructure upgrade to support the re-opening of the Dolphin Scheelite Mine. King Island Mayor Julie Arnold said the Budget was a mixed result for the island. “I am pleased Phoenix House has received funding as their Federal funding was due to run out, and that probably would have meant staff reductions,” Mrs Arnold said.

“I welcome the funding for the mine and for Sharp , however there wasn’t anything in the budget for King Island and residents which is disappointing.” A spokesperson for King Island Tourism said the State Government’s readiness to support the Island’s tourism industry was deeply appreciated by operators. “We will continue to do our bit to make this route sustainable on its own merit and are keen to showcase our Island’s many attractions to our southern neighbours,” the spokesperson said.

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