It was standing room only at St Francis College for the third Assembly of the Queensland Community Alliance.
It was an assembly gathered from Faith, Union, and Community organisations to gain the necessary commitments from local, and state decision makers in order to make the Logan Community a safer place to live.
Listening sessions were held with the Logan Community in September 2014, in which stories were shared. The common thread throughout the stories was safety; that people who lived in Logan wanted to feel safe in their own communities.
Following the listening sessions, this assembly was convened. Stakeholders came together and invited their local decision makers (Councillors, Police, State Members, and Ministers) to obtain commitments on the establishment of three main projects that would help make the Logan community a safer place:
The Establishment of Safe Havens in Logan.
Shops and other businesses that have made a commitment to report 100% of violent crime witness to police.
The Logan City Council will support the Safe Haven concept with a placement of the City Council badge on Safe Haven signs as endorsement. This signs would then be placed on Safe Haven businesses.
The Local Police will support the plan, and support the celebration once a year with local businesses who participate in the Safe Haven project.
The establishment of a new public transport taskforce that will look at innovative solutions to solve Logan’s Public Transport shortfalls.
Part of this plan is to combine the Logan City Council Public Transport Taskforce, with the Queensland Community Alliance Logan Transport Taskforce, commit to at least four meetings of this combined taskforce before February 2016, and to report back to the next assembly to be held in March 2016.
To support and educate the public about the Logan Together project which aims to improve the lives of children 0-8-years-old in Logan and help close the gap.
The belief that many of the problems in Logan can be improved by giving its children the best start in life with all the opportunities possible underpins this project.
The assembly saw this great project given a commitment of $75,000 in initial funding from the State Government — announced by State Minister for Communities, and State Member for Waterford Shannon Fentiman MP.
The buzz in the assembled crowd was electric as we both heard stories of hard times and gained hope from the commitments given by our decision makers to improve conditions for the future.
The crowd heard a story from Gerard. While attending Easter celebrations with his family, Gerard’s wife fell ill. Rather than ruin the whole family's Easter celebrations, Gerard’s wife insisted she make her own way home.
However, on her way home Gerard’s wife was robbed of her bags, purse, money and cards. His wife didn’t tell Gerard of this attack for two days after the incident. They didn’t go to the Police because Gerard’s wife knew the attackers — she would see them everyday on her travels throughout her local area — and because their family were on Bridging Visas. They feared for how a police report may affect their ability to stay in the country.
The day before coming to the assembly to tell his story, Gerard’s car was vandalised.
He left the assembly with a message of hope that the Queensland Community Alliance could improve the life of his family and the lives of all who lived in Logan with its work.
Majorie is a Regent’s Park resident, mother of a teenage daughter and a proud Together member.
Her story revolved around the ability for her children to be as good and as independent as they could be in an area in which public transport failed.
She told how her children, in order to study, or attend their jobs, had to go on social media offering fuel money for rides. She worried for her children’s safety, and for her children’s ability to be all they could be.
She said “I am not looking for the government to do my parenting for me, but just to help my children be safe.”
Jordan is 21 years old and lives in Rochedale. He is a Centrecare client and volunteer, and he has Aspergers.
“I am not able to drive because my disability means that I cannot concentrate for long periods of time. But I don’t want my disability to hold me back.”
He told of one time waiting for a bus that never came. Because of this he had to walk more than 25 minutes to a distant bus stop in order to get home — and he was scared.
“I kept thinking of what happened to Daniel Morcombe and how that could happen to me. I know I am older than Daniel was when he was taken, but although I am 21, I am the same height as he was when he was taken. I was very scared.”
Jordan too wanted to see an innovative solution for public transport in Logan that could give him the opportunity to be as independent as he could be, and contribute as much as he can back to his local community.
Angela moved to Australia to Logan over a year ago from inner city Auckland with her children. When she first came she had no friends and no contacts. But through some local services which helped children and their parents play and socialise she found some great friends, and an ability to cope. She said she saw many other mothers who spoke little English, and felt very withdrawn from the community and these services were their only entry into the community.
But then the funding was cut. These children, for whom abuse and neglect could often be the norm, were now cut adrift.
And this is why the Logan Together collective impact initiative was so important, and the commitment each attendee at the assembly made was necessary.
Logan Together aims to close the gap so that, by the age of eight, Logan children will be as healthy as any other group of Australian children and reach agreed health, education and social milestones.
The initiative brings together representatives from all three levels of government, government agencies, community organisations, a wide range of child development service providers and whole of community. It is based on the collective impact framework, which enables organisations across a particular sector to focus on a common agenda to achieve large-scale social change.
If you would like to find out more about the Logan Together Collective Impact Initiative, visit this website.
All the decision makers present gave the commitments needed, and now the hard work commences to make all this great project happen.
If you would like to find out more about the Queensland Community Alliance, or get involved please visit the website at http://www.qldcommunityalliance.org/