Shoalhaven community seeks ways to prosper despite budget cuts

Back from left Shoalhaven Community College executive officer Helen Zwicker, community engagement manager Linda Marquis, vice chairman of the Shoalhaven and Kiama Community Colleges Martin Millgate, Ellen Harwood from Shoalhaven City Council, Liz Henigan from TAFE, Illawarra Forum CEO Nicky Sloan take part in the round table discussion in Bomaderry on Thursday to explore how the budget will impact on local services.

Back from left Shoalhaven Community College executive officer Helen Zwicker, community engagement manager Linda Marquis, vice chairman of the Shoalhaven and Kiama Community Colleges Martin Millgate, Ellen Harwood from Shoalhaven City Council, Liz Henigan from TAFE, Illawarra Forum CEO Nicky Sloan take part in the round table discussion in Bomaderry on Thursday to explore how the budget will impact on local services.

About 50 people put their minds to finding a way forward in the face of shrinking budgets during a community meeting on Thursday.

Shoalhaven Community College hosted the public meeting titled From Reflections to Actions.

Representatives from community, welfare and government organisations met in Bomaderry to look at what community groups were available in the Shoalhaven and how budget changes would affect the services they provide.

Shoalhaven Community College community engagement manager Linda Marquis said the results of the federal budget cuts were likely to have serious implications for many aspects of life in the Shoalhaven.

“The impact will be felt by our youth, unemployed, homeless, Indigenous and seniors which means there will be great pressure felt by our employment, education and health sectors," she said.

“Consideration also needs to be given to the flow on effect of these cuts to the retail and service sectors.

“The aim of the discussion was to start a conversation to look within our organisations and groups at ways we can help ourselves. 

Illawarra Forum CEO Nicky Sloan attended the session.

She said the Forum covered the Wollongong, Kiama, Shellharbour and Shoalhaven local government areas. She said each area faced different issues.

"Today is important because I get to hear the voice from the Shoalhaven," she said.

"We are working with other organisations across the region to identify the issues and then send a united message to state and national leaders.

"We don't want people to throw their hands in the air and say the budget is a done deal. There is still time to influence our leaders," she said.

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