Headspace centre battle continues

Nanjing Night Net

MAROONDAH Council has not given up hope on being nominated as the preferred location for a new youth mental health service, despite rumours Knox has already won the honour.

The municipalities have been battling to get the headspace youth mental health hub in their area, since the organisation last year announced its intention to open an outer east site.

Media reports have indicated a consortium of community health services has recommended the Knox Ozone site in Wantirna South over Maroondah’s offer in Ringwood. Official representatives have not confirmed this, and the final decision lies with headspace and the federal government.

Knox mayor Adam Gill said he knew one thing was certain – and that was the preferred location for the outer east hub was Knox Ozone.

He said there was already a mental health service in Maroondah, but not in Knox. Ringwood police, Maroondah mayor Rob Steane and Deakin MP Mike Symon met at the proposed Ringwood site at 120 Maroondah Highway last week to discuss their bid for the centre.

Cr Steane said Ringwood was the major transport hub connecting bus and train services in the outer east, Lilydale and Healesville. Mr Symon said he fully supported Maroondah Council’s bid to have the headspace site in Maroondah.

“It is laughable to suggest that that a young person without a car who is living in Mt Evelyn or Healesville could practically ever access a service based in Knox.”

But Youth Advocacy Group president Anthony Osborne said a survey of 120 young people showed 83 percent preferred Knox.

“Many of the respondents outlined that they felt unsafe at Ringwood station. Residents from Yarra Ranges also outlined that despite catching the Ringwood line for many years they still didn’t feel safe.”

A headspace spokeswoman said the organisation was unable to comment on the proceedings as it was confidential. A decision was expected by the end of the month.