Spark Resource Centre.

LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
tuesday, 5 July 2016

Spark Resource Centre

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 15:17 :50 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, representing the Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion, on the topic of funding to the Spark Resource Centre.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Members would be well aware, and indeed the South Australian community would be well aware, of the work of the Spark Resource Centre. For over four decades it has supported the sole parent community of our state. It currently faces unprecedented challenges. It has been in receipt of only a six-month transitional contract of funding and also was recently the victim of an extensive fraud, which is currently under police investigation. I should note that no current member or volunteer at Spark is considered to have perpetrated this fraud. Indeed they are victims of having been defrauded.

Spark does amazing work. Spark supports sole parents, those who live in the greatest levels and greatest rates of poverty in our society. Indeed, the community that Spark supports is the community that many other services refer them to because they are put in the too hard basket. Indeed, in the words of a letter of support written on 8 June by Alison Meneaud, Acting Manager of the Eastern Adelaide Domestic Violence Service, the hundreds of individuals who she has personally referred to Spark had complex needs such as:

  • Mental illness

  • High level substance abuse issues

  • Mothers who had relinquished children or who had children removed from their care

  • Indigenous women suffering complex trauma associated with child abuse, incarceration, members of the stolen generation and deaths in custody

  • Domestic and Family Violence and sexual abuse

  • Adults and children with co-morbidity and disability diagnosis

  • Women with a history of torture and trauma from their country of origin

As Alison writes in this letter:

Many were used to being put in the 'too hard basket', judging from their stories of exp evidences with other organisations that had been unable to meet their need as they often didn't fit within the organisations particular framework. Consequently most struggled with the effects of 'system abuse', homelessness, violence and addiction.

These particular sole parents are facing the prospect, as of next week, that they will have nowhere to go, nowhere to seek the counselling support that they currently get, nowhere to get cheap and free op shop provisions for their children that they currently get, nowhere to get an emergency supply of formula for babies that they are unable to feed, and nowhere to continue the parenting classes that they are currently engaged in.

My question to the minister is: why has this government chosen to further victimise the victims of fraud at the Spark Resource Centre, and where will these single parents who are currently put in the too-hard basket by all the other services go as of next week when the doors potentially have to shut?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 15:21 :10 ): I thank the honourable member for her most important question on the subject of the Spark Resource Centre and its funding. I undertake to take that question to the Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion in the other place and seek a response on her behalf.

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