Justice Action (JA) recently requested to help with launching the Callan Park Wellness Centre as a crucial part of the master plan on Sunday February 10, 2013 with the intention of providing services to mental health consumers including accommodation, NGO peer support, information around mental health and research. JA worked with individuals and groups from the Callan Park community to launch and clean vacant buildings 220-222 for the Callan Park Wellness Centre.
Since 2008, buildings 220, 221 and 222 have been vacant due to relocation of mental health patients to Concord Hospital, despite an urgent need for support and housing for the mentally ill in the area. A media release was launched where 'Friends of Callan Park', the 'Mental Health Coordinating Council' and other organisations confronted the minister about why the master plan had not yet begun and that it was already serving illegal purposes.
The 'Friends of Callan Park' media release reported pending decisions by the NSW state government to have the NSW Ambulance Service take over buildings 220, 221 and 222 by placing a 5-year lease. Likewise, a lease was granted to a film hire company called "Callan 201" to occupy the site. However, the 'Callan Park Special Provision Act 2002, Sect. 7' states this move is illegal as development may be carried out only for the purpose of health, education or the community. It is also stated in section 4 that the park is of "public ownership, control...and access". 'Friends of Callan Park', general public and other organisations strongly oppose the takeover of these buildings and plan to rally on Saturday 23rd of February at 11 am.
Then JA received a call purportedly from the Minister's office last week with an invitation to commence the Wellness Centre in accordance with the master plan, as the door was left open. The event included a BBQ and friendly discussion geared towards the implementation of the Callan Park Wellness Centre. Unfortunately, an attempt was made by the NSW Ambulance to have police remove JA and supporting organisations from the premises. Six officers swooped to the scene but left soon after accepting that this was a civil dispute. Nevertheless, this still led to the close of the Wellness Centre early that evening, due to the fact the property was originally accommodation for well-funded Ambulance bureaucrats.
The NSW Ambulance Service (who also control a $17 billion dollar budget) seem adamant that this must be the place for their "occasional" bureaucratic accommodation as it is closer to home. This move is quite ironic considering that for eight years paramedics have been considered the number one most trusted profession, according to The Readers Digest. It has become evident the demands for bureaucratic accommodation outweigh the major benefits the Wellness Centre could provide for the Lilyfied community. Considering the number of organisations, politicians, representatives of mental health and community who declare for the proposal to abide by the Callan Park Act and Masterplan, it is imperative for the Minister for Mental Health to provide recommendations intended to meet the needs of Mental Health Patients.
Callan Park Councillor Enjoying