Pictured: Tanya Tuttle (Babinda Taskforce Manager), Dalitta Wright (Management Committee Vice President) and Sandy Taylor-Crane (Management Committee President).

Babinda Taskforce is an unfunded Neighbourhood Centre in a geographically isolated town south of Cairns. It is operated with limited staff hours and local community volunteers.

The Centre is a thriving space in Babinda, operating a small museum as well as maintaining the hanging baskets throughout the main streets of the town.  They have a strong Skilling Queenslanders for Work program in which they recently trained 10 aged care support staff for the town. Centrelink services are offered from the centre as well as public computers, emergency relief, financial literacy, NILS loans and digital inclusion activities. Community activities are also run by the centre in the main town with high engagement and they are involved in developing local tourism initiatives. Additionally, they are involved in disaster coordination for Cairns Regional Council and recently provided local responses to Cyclone Jasper.

Babinda Taskforce is operated by the Babinda District Community Association which incorporated in 1999 and they have been advocating for Neighbourhood Centre funding for 25 years. Current grants and project funds are only able to support one position.

NCQ has identified 27 unfunded Neighbourhood Centres in the state like Babinda Taskforce, providing large amounts of support for local communities on limited resources. These centres struggle with leasing costs, staffing, utility expenses, volunteer recruitment, training and safety issues.  Unfunded centres in regional, remote and First Nations communities are particularly impacted.

NCQ’s recent budget submission requested a project to map all unfunded centres across the state to identify a further 10 sites for Neighbourhood Centre funding. While we are aware of 27 locations including Babinda, we believe there are many more operating across the state. You can read more in our budget submission for the 2024/2025 financial year, here.

Written By: Chris Mundy
Published: April 2024