By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Noble Park Community Centre’s long-term manager Brian Woodman and its volunteer committee of management have resigned under a veil of secrecy after an internal financial audit.
The centre’s interim committee, in a statement, said it had “now resolved outstanding issues” with Mr Woodman.
“All issues and concerns stakeholders and community members have raised previously have been, or are being, addressed.”
New committee member Heather Duggan declined to explain the circumstances of Mr Woodman’s resignation.
She wouldn’t comment on the findings of the completed internal audit.
It was not confirmed whether the matter was reported to Victoria Police.
The centre was set to advertise for Mr Woodman’s replacement in coming weeks, Ms Duggan said.
Noble Park Community Centre receives public funding from Greater Dandenong Council, the Department of Health and Human Services and Neighbourhood Houses Victoria.
The independent, incorporated body is based in a council-owned property on Memorial Drive.
It has been the long-time home of an annual community art show, a community garden and a meeting point for scores of ethnic, sports, hobby and seniors groups.
Meanwhile, Greater Dandenong has launched a review of the centre’s governance structure, including whether the council should manage the centre ‘in-house’.
The review’s proponent Cr Tim Dark stated there were “significant concerns around governance, financial mismanagement and operations” at the centre.
“This has caused serious detriment to the council and local community.”
The review’s findings may be applied to other community centres in Greater Dandenong that also operate under volunteer committees of management, Cr Dark said.
The council had so far refused to release the centre’s audit report to councillors, he told Star Journal.
“It’s in the public interest that it is released.”
The centre’s interim committee stated it would “ensure that the excellent work and community support being delivered continues and expands”.
“The new committee and staff are extremely positive and excited by the opportunity to grow and develop the community support, development and capacity building of the centre.”
A Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson confirmed the centre had a new committee.
“We will continue to work closely with Noble Park Community Centre Committee of Management to deliver neighbourhood house programs and activities for the local community.”
Greater Dandenong Council declined to comment.
Mr Woodman did not return Star Journal’s calls before deadline.