In 1983 Cherry Carroll and some of her friends were concerned about youth unemployment in the South Burnett. They called for a public meeting, the outcome of which was the establishment of a Youth Unemployment Centre (YUC).
By 1987 the group had obtained various grants from State Government and additional donations to become ever more ‘professional’ and deliver more programs. A change of guard occurred at committee level and the organisation was incorporated as South Burnett CYSS Inc (Community Youth Support Services). South Burnett CYSS changed premises several times before settling in the Artie Kerr Building in Kingaroy Street in 1989.
In the same year we reincorporated under the registered name of South Burnett CTC Inc (Community Training Centre) and commenced delivering the South Burnett SkillShare (a federally funded program for people of all ages) service for the next seven years.
SkillShare grew to have a metal and wood workshop in Pound Street, a computer room in Alford Street and about 500 participants in various courses in any year plus a multitude of programs from State and Federal Government. We delivered lots of projects to community organisations, from landscaping aged care centres to building toilets in public parks while teaching work and life skills.
The crowning glory of these was the Town Common Hall (TCH) in Kingaroy which was constructed under a JobSkills project with funding from our reserves, the Department of Sport and Recreation, Jupiter’s Casino Community Benefit Fund, Kingaroy Junior Soccer, Kingaroy Lions, SB Vintage Car Club and Kingaroy Shire Council. CTC used its kitchen and bar for training and managed the hall for other users.
In 1996 the Federal Government abolished SkillShare and we became a Job Network member and Personal Support Program (PSP) provider for the South Burnett and Community Work Coordinator (CWC) for Work for the Dole for the South Burnett and Gympie area. We didn’t want to move outside our traditional ‘home’ area but had no choice if we wanted to be a Work for the Dole provider. We co-located our office with Gympie Landcare for several years before establishing a separate office in Mary Street.
The only backward step in our continual growth up until then had to be taken in 2000 when despite very good performance we lost Intensive Assistance from our suite of programs in a new tender process. As it turned out this was probably a blessing in disguise as it freed us up to focus on non-employment related needs in the community.
We continued recruitment services through Job Matching and later as a Job Placement Organisation.
From the mid 1990s we were involved in the establishment of the South Burnett Enterprise Centre and in 1998 CTC started to manage that Centre on behalf of the Kingaroy Regional Enterprise Centre Association Inc and located our manager and accounts office within its administration building.
Throughout the rapid expansion of training and recruitment services for long term unemployed people, young people’s needs remained as a major focus. Here too the number of programs expanded, particularly when we were asked to take on the auspice of the South Burnett Area Youth Service (SBAYS) and with it the crisis accommodation hostel in Kingaroy Street in 2001. (A new and custom built hostel was opened in 2008 in Markwell Street).
Around the same time Kingaroy Shire Council was looking to establish a skate bowl. The Peanut Company of Australia made a parcel of land on Somerset Street available to Council and CTC purchased some demountable classrooms and established them on that site. In lots of community working bees, with Work for the Dole and Community Jobs Plan projects we transformed these buildings and the site into what is now the Youth Park.
Tarong Energy, Rio Tinto and others made generous donations which together with our own resources allowed us to create a facility that is envied by many other towns. While the Youth Park itself is open to everyone, the vast majority of our services are aimed at young people who face multiple and varied barriers to education, employment and full participation in the community. In 2004 the Murgon Connections Youth and Family Service came under our auspice. Increasingly we work with the Indigenous communities in Cherbourg and elsewhere from this base.
During 2002/03 a group of parents of children with disabilities requested CTC’s assistance in establishing a respite service. Community Respite Options South Burnett (CROSB) was born and with it came a respite house in Gladys Street. Again we used various projects to transform an ordinary house into a great facility for people with a disability of all ages and their carers.
During 2005 we started as a provider of long term Community Housing. In 2007 we commenced leasing 6 flats in Nanango from the Department of Housing for long term housing. In 2010 construction of a fully wheelchair accessible duplex was completed in Kingaroy on land donated by Kingaroy Shire Council and funded by a capital grant from the Department of Housing. At the same time we built another duplex in cooperation with the family of a CROSB client, “Simmo’s Place”. We acknowledge the generosity of the Simmons family who has made long term commitments to help us provide accommodation and services to people with disabilities.
In 2006 we became a provider of Foster Care Services called Partners in Foster Care based in Wondai. Since this time the size and scope of services provided through Partners in Foster Care has increased dramatically.
We increased our presence in Gympie through Job Network and a collaboration with Cooloola Youth Services for a JPET youth program. Through “Local Community Partnerships” (LCP), a federally funded career and transitions program for school students, we provided services in Monto, Gayndah and Gin Gin as well as Murgon and Nanango. In 2010 LCP was replaced by Youth Connections (YC), still in the North and South Burnett.
During 2006 we were able to again purchase some demountable classrooms from St Mary’s which were refurbished for the Partners site in Wondai and for the new “HQ” at the Enterprise Centre.
In 2007 we bought and refurbished the former Christmas Shop in Lamb Street, Murgon with a major contribution from the Regional Partnerships Program. Our Reconnect youth service for young people at risk of homelessness and an ever increasing number of other programs focused on the needs of Indigenous people in the area, are now accommodated in this “Connections” premises which was formally opened by Senator John Hogg in February 2008.
The Gumnut Place, an Australian Disability Enterprise joined the CTC auspice in December 2007. Massive steps have been taken in turning it into a thriving, supportive and sustainable business where people with disabilities have a real stake in the economy and community of the South Burnett. The Gumnut Place operates a wood workshop, a trophy and engraving section, a commercial kitchen and catering service and since 2010 a laundry service. The latter was established with financial support from Tarong Energy and Thiess. Without the loyalty of our main customers Murgon Leather, IGA and Thiess (now replaced by Downer Mining) and the support of South Burnett Regional Council we could not provide meaningful employment and development opportunities to our 20 supported employees and we are grateful for their ongoing custom as we continue to struggle to achieve “break even” point.
With the Queensland Government’s Alcohol Management Plan (AMP) for the Cherbourg community came a raft of Diversionary programs in 2009. Just before they commenced we established a partnership with the Queensland Police Service to operate Barambah Community Support to assist incarcerated people in the Murgon watch house or at risk of this. Wondin-dee counselling service for children and families affected by domestic violence and the Safe Haven program also started around this time. These programs required some additions to our Connections premises and the rental of more space at 76 Lamb Street.
Our Residential Services began in 2009 with FIAR (Fostering Independence and Resilience) House (a licenced service since 2010); a residence for four young people who for different reasons did not fit into the foster care system. From this our Residential Services grew, building on CTC’s strong partnership with Child Safety and since 2011 supports other youth through Temporary Placement models at a number of sites.
One of the most dramatic growth phases for CTC occurred from mid 2009 when we were successful in obtaining a very large share of the Job Services Australia (JSA) program– the latest incarnation of Commonwealth Employment Services – in the Gympie and South Burnett area. With the addition of a raft of Queensland government funded work experience and job search services we had an explosion in our staff and accommodation requirements. New sites were established in Kingaroy, Murgon, Gympie and Tin Can Bay and more support staff commenced at HQ. After 21 years we said good bye to the Artie Kerr Building!
In 2009 we became an out of school hours childcare service in Nanango, supported by the Department of Communities through provision and refurbishment of the former preschool. This site also developed a family services hub (thanks to a grant from Heritage Nanango Community Funding Ltd) and is now known as ‘Community Kids’.
In late 2011 we expanded our Children’s Services in Nanango through the purchase of the Nanango Childcare Centre and the development of a Pre-prep Program.
In December 2012 our Diversionary Services in Murgon/Cherbourg were closed as a result of the State Government’s funding cuts.
In August 2013 we entered into a consortium agreement with IMPACT Make Your Mark (Bundaberg) and Graham House (Murgon) to deliver the Personal Helper and Mentors Service (PHaMs) across Bundaberg and the North and South Burnett, building on previous collaborations in the youth services field. December 2013 saw a change with Youth Support Coordinators being funded through a cluster of local state high schools who asked us to facilitate an individual staff member’s continued employment in this role.
The Youth Connections program was closed in December 2014 due to the program not being refunded nationally.
In June 2015 our Job Services Australia contract was not renewed as a large region needed to be covered and the consortium we formed to tender with was unsuccessful in its application. Since that time we have reinvented our Employment Services, continuing to provide Labour Hire services only to selected local businesses and delivering a number of Skilling Queenslanders For Work programs.
In July 2015 we commenced delivery of two new funding contracts - Family and Child Connect and RENEW Intensive Family Support. Both of these contracts came about as a result of the recommendations of the Carmody Report and are aimed at prevention and early intervention for families potentially close to becoming involved in the Child Protection system.
From March 2016 we commenced delivery of the South Burnett Domestic Violence Service to provide court support for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing domestic and family violence and counselling to women who are experiencing domestic and family violence.
In June 2016 we finally completed the construction of Stage 1 of the Heritage Lodge project in Nanango with tenants about to take up residence in the units.
From July 2016 we began delivering a 12 month program – Airing Out DV – which provides information and training to early childhood educators to enable them to better support young children affected by domestic and family violence.