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Report shows disrespect

Flynn community members talk with Vicki Dunne outside Flynn Primary School

Flynn community members talk with Vicki Dunne outside Flynn Primary School

Article by Naomi Fallon from The Northside Chronicle, October 16, 2012, p.1.

A LEAKED report has found that the John Flynn Community Group was mistreated by the government in their negotiations over the future use of the Former Flynn School site.

Mindpath Consulting’s confidential review into the complaints raised by the John Flynn Community Group Inc reveals that the Community Services Directorate misled the Chief Minister and the Minister for Community Services, pursued its own agenda at the expense of the Flynn community and refused to negotiate with the group on their proposal for the former Flynn Primary School.

The report also states that the Community Services Directorate gave evidence to the Legislative Assembly that contained inaccuracies, had no tender process for selecting tenants for the $4 million Flynn Childcare Centre, mismanaged and misrepresented the minutes of consultation meetings and failed to agree to appropriate terms of reference for consultation.

While the review found both parties contributed to the difficulties and stalemate, John Flynn Community Group spokesman Roger Nicoll said the report accurately reflected the feelings of the community, who lodged a formal complaint about the department’s conduct in 2010.

“Certainly the report confirmed some of the things that we had been saying — that the community has really been messed around,” he said.

Among nine recommendations, the report suggested that the group’s proposal for the Flynn community hub be formally re-presented and considered.

In light of the upcoming election, Mr Nicoll said he would like all major parties to commit to that recommendation with a view to implementing a Lifelong Learning and Community Centre, with a co-operative model of management, and strong Flynn community access and participation.

“Essentially this has been lying idle for six years … we think enough’s enough,” he said.

“It’s been vandalised, it’s been a site where horrendous things have happened.

“People still want to come here but it needs to he connecting the community. The community has a desire to he part of what’s happening here,” he said.

If elected, the Canberra Liberals said they would abide by the community’s request Family and Community Services spokeswoman Vicki Dunne said the Canberra Liberals would give in principle support to the John Flynn Community Group’s proposal.

“If I am the Minister for Community Services we will have a new negotiation on the Flynn proposal and … no one previously involved in this negotiation will be at the table of behalf of the department of community services,” she said.

“This report brings to light what the Flynn community has known for long time. This community has been disrespected from the outset … [the government] closed a school that should never have been closed.”

ACT Labor could not confirm whether they would commit to the John Flynn Community Group’s request.

A Community Services Directorate spokesman said while he was unable to comment on the specific content of the report, the directorate did support the recommendations made within it.

“The directorate has been working cooperatively with the [John Flynn Community Group] to resolve its concerns related to the development of the Flynn Community hub,” he said.

This includes ongoing communication over the conservation management strategy for the second stage of the hub’s development, on which we still await the group’s feedback.”

The spokesman said the directorate was committed to establishing a centre for the Flynn community.

“The Directorate will consider all the issues raised by the John Flynn Community Group and the findings of the MindPath review in the development of the Flynn Community hub, but does not think completion of this important asset for the people of Flynn should he delayed by this process.”

Images from Flynn

Angles on the textured concrete walls


Flynn grounds

Landscape setting & grounds

Enrico Taglietti visting the school he designed

History and design

Memorial to John Flynn

Memorial to John Flynn