Callan Park - When will somebody in the NSW Government do the right thing?

The joint announcement by the Minister for Planning, Kristina Keneally, and Minister for Education and Training and Member for Balmain, Verity Firth, on 22 October that the long-term future of Callan Park has been secured is a victory for common sense in the wake of the unbridled redevelopment of Sydney and particularly its foreshores. 

There will undoubtedly be be much celebration in some quarters - the news release stated that “Callan Park is a special place for families and residents of Balmain and Sydney’s inner west,” Ms Firth said. “It is protected for them now and into the future.” Well, perhaps we should be exceedingly happy for the good folks of Balmain and Sydney’s inner west?  But there are also losers in the deal and these are precisely those people for whom the facilities at Callan Park were originally intended, namely the mentally ill.  In the release there is much chest-beating regarding the area’s bucolic appeal but not once was there a reference made to the mentally ill.

It is insanity in this day and age that the facilities provided by the NSW government for the mentally ill are, at best, almost non-existent.  We can find $30m for a V8 car race but clearly the mentally ill do not rate at quite such a high level of priority with our lords and masters in Macquarie Street.

When no facilities exist for the chronic mentally ill they are forced to exist within the wider community and, in most cases, they are clearly not physically able to cope with the daily trials of just living.  Time and time again, here at BVM Clean Scene, we see the evidence of mentally ill people failing hopelessly at trying to support themselves within the community.  Their properties become so squalid and/or pest infected that they are totally uninhabitable by humans.  In fact, most places you wouldn’t even keep an animal - you’d be reported to the RSPCA.  The fortunate ones are temporarily relocated whilst we restore the property to a habitable state.  They will return later and, sadly, so will we as the living conditions will just deteriorate once again - an endless cycle.

But regrettably, they are the unfortunate ones.  They die a lonely death in filth and squalor.  Nobody to look after their needs for them.  Nobody to care for them.  Nobody that cares about them.  These are unfortunate members of our community who have been dealt a very bad hand of cards in the game of life.  They are as they are through no fault of their own.  But nobody in Macquarie Street seems willing to make a stand and a commitment to remedying the situation.

Despite the current economic woes, Australians in general, and NSW residents in particular, lead a very comfortable lifestyle.  We are recognised around the globe as being one of the best places on earth to live.  That being so, what a pity we can’t find the wherewithal to address the desperate needs of a section of our community who look to us for such a long overdue helping hand.

Posted by on 10/28 at 09:44 AM

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