Cronulla Women's Rest Centre staff concerns

Centre changes: Annette Hogan is concerned that the council is cutting the hours of staff working at the Women's Rest Centre. Picture: John Veage
Centre changes: Annette Hogan is concerned that the council is cutting the hours of staff working at the Women's Rest Centre. Picture: John Veage

There are concerns that Cronulla Women’s Rest Centre will no longer have full-time attendants and will be left unattended for short periods of time while staff also service the parents and carers room in Cronulla Central.

Sutherland Shire Council has confirmed the new arrangements but resident Annette Hogan believes leaving the Women’s Rest Centre unattended at times will pose security risks.

Staffing levels at the centre were reviewed in 2015 but following community protests Sutherland Shire councillors unanimously voted to keep staff and services unchanged.

Ms Hogan said the council is now breaking that promise.

“In 2015, the council unanimously voted on a resolution to continue the services provided by the centre for over 50 years. The council statement released at the time specifically says it would be “business as usual” and that the “status quo” would be maintained.

“Now the women’s rest centre will still be cleaned by the attendants however they would not be based there as they would be expected to clean other toilets.

“This is not “business as usual”. If the council proceeds with these changes it will be leaving a corpse by ripping out its heart and soul. This is how the community will see it.

“We were also promised by councillors that the community would be involved in any changes to the services of the centre. This is not being followed through.’’

A council spokesperson said, “Sutherland Shire Council continues to make the Cronulla Rest Centre available to the community as it always has. The two staff assisting with the presentation and amenity of the centre will continue to do so with opening hours and days unchanged.

“The service to parents and carers visiting Cronulla will be enhanced, with equal care and cleaning being provided to both sets of parents and carers amenities in Cronulla Mall, one located at the Rest Centre and the other in Cronulla Central.

“Staff will regularly service and care for both locations and be more visible to the public needing their help by wearing Council uniforms.”

The spokesman confirmed that “from time to time either facility may be unattended for short periods to service the other facility.

“The intention is to maintain both facilities to the same standard. The range of services provided at the Rest Centre do not change.”

Ms Hogan said the council’s 2015 resolution saying the centre will continue “business as usual” has not been revisited and therefore still stands.

“It cannot simply be overturned by calling it an ‘operational matter. If the council wants to change the centre they should consult with the community.

“Every woman I’ve spoken to is horrified  there won’t be the same service at the rest centre,” she said.