READER'S VIEW: Concerns over funding to the Heritage Village

I WAS extremely disappointed with Mayor Strelow's response (RMB 06/2/16) to my text concerning the 2013 cuts to the Heritage Village and what the future holds for the village: I guess I could summarise her response as "expect more of the same".

The Rockhampton Heritage Village is a major drawcard for the region with 31,110 customers in 2015, so I find it strange that these cuts (both in RRC staff and finance) continue to be foisted on the village in the name of monetary savings.

Also strange was the Mayor's statement that, "Mr McMillan is promising a lot of things - including increasing staff at the Heritage Village again".

It is strange because neither I nor anyone I have spoken to at the village is aware of this supposed promise.

The cuts at the Heritage Village have caused major disruptions and stress to staff and volunteers as we continue to attempt to showcase the village to the public as we did prior to the 2013 cuts.

These cuts have impacted heavily in the areas of communication, training, maintenance, presentation, tour preparation but, most importantly, in the areas of safety and security and, also, as a result of this shortage of RRC staff, the council actions are in direct conflict with the stated ideals of Volunteering Queensland.

The Council's own "Volunteer Induction Kit" states, "council is responsible for ensuring the safety of volunteers…" and "council is responsible to ensure volunteers are given duties appropriate to their capacities, skills and interest." Now, on those days when there are some 40 volunteers in the grounds of the village and one RRC employee, how could the mayor say that the responsibilities stated above are maintained?

Also, Volunteering Queensland's Code of Practice (which is endorsed by Volunteering Australia) states that, an organisation which involves volunteers agrees to:

Provide volunteer staff with orientation and training

Provide volunteer staff with a healthy and safe workplace

Again, the existing "outside staff" at the village cannot physically or mentally ensure that the Code of Practice is upheld as it should be.

With 38,189 volunteer hours clocked up at the Village in 2015, the potential for disaster is ever present; that is why we seek the restoration of the RRC staff at the RHV to the level that they were before the 2013 mayoral cuts.

Peter Finnigan

President, Friends of the RHV



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