Lance Manton, chief executive of the Bogal Local Aboriginal Land Council, pictured yesterday outside the Box Ridge Community Centre at Coraki.
Lance Manton, chief executive of the Bogal Local Aboriginal Land Council, pictured yesterday outside the Box Ridge Community Centre at Coraki. Brenden Allen

Dispute delays handover of new community centre

A NEW $718,000 community centre for Box Ridge at Coraki stands as the shell of a dream as it waits for the North Coast Area Health Service to provide a full-time services co-ordinator for the facility.

Bogal Local Aboriginal Land Council chief executive officer Lance Manton said the centre was 'pretty useless without someone working there full-time'.

“It's a case of being all dressed up with nowhere to go,” he said.

Mr Manton is refusing to accept the keys on behalf of the Bogal Local Aboriginal Land Council for the now completed community centre, because the North Coast Area Health Service, which funded the project, has not allocated a staff member to the position.

Mr Manton said the brief for the centre, which was signed off by NCAHS chief executive Chris Crawford in 2005, included the provision of a full-time co-ordinator 'which would be an employee of the area health service'.

“I will just keep postponing the handover until something is done about this,” he said.

A spokesperson for the North Coast Area Health Service said the service was still considering the best way of funding the community centre position.

Yesterday, Mr Manton appealed to Mr Crawford to guarantee the funding in a letter which stated: “Unless these funds are forthcoming it will not be possible for the health post to be opened and for services to be provided. Bogal Local Aboriginal Land Council does not have the funds or the resources to provide these services and would not have agreed to the land being used for this purpose if that were the case.”

Mr Manton said if funding for the co-ordinator's position was not made available, it would be a serious breach of the State Government's commitment to indigenous welfare.

BACKGROUND

THE Box Ridge Community Centre was funded by the North Coast Area Health Service to provide a combination of health, child care, youth and employment training for about 100 residents living in the Aboriginal community on the outskirts of Coraki.

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