Council accused of fanning antisocial behaviour

The Launceston City Council has been accused of grossly under-funding youth services, giving rise to the sorts of antisocial behaviour now raising concerns in the community. 

The Launceston Municipality - the largest in Tasmania -  has the biggest population of young people in the state but no youth centre. 

This stands in contrast to council-run youth centres in other cities like Hobart and Devonport. 

According to the council it spent $110,000 on youth services in 2011-12,  compared with the Hobart City Council's $374,524.

While the council employs one youth officer, Hobart has five and Glenorchy City Council employs three.

The West Tamar Council, which has less than half as many young people as Launceston, has two youth workers, including a casual, and co-ordinates two youth centres. 

A youth worker, familiar with the council and local government, said the Launceston City Council's approach to youth services was ``ad-hoc and piecemeal''.

The Examiner  has agreed to keep the person's identity confidential.  

``The Launceston council has greatly underfunded youth services to the point where it is now noticeable,'' the person said. 

``The antisocial behaviour you see is a long-term result of not having invested at the community level.''

The council responded that Launceston had more non-council youth services compared with other municipalities ``and it's our role to work with them to build capacity''.

``Every council allocates its resources depending upon the types of other services that exist in their community and the immediate needs of their community,'' Launceston general manager Robert Dobrzynski said.

He said the council's youth officer was involved in many initiatives including the National Youth Week steering committee and  the ``Headspace Consortium'', however, it is understood this hasn't existed for several years. 

The source said: ``It's really insulting to attribute the council to any of that.''

Unlike many other councils, Launceston is without a youth strategy but said it would be developing one.

The council does have two special committees relating to youth  to ``ensure young people have a voice into council''.  

These meet fortnightly and bimonthly. 

The council is also involved in Care Factor,  Fuse magazine and monthly  skateboarding activities. 

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