Wednesday, 23 November 2022
Greenway Electorate: Memorial Grove, Domestic and Family Violence
Recently I visited a new addition to the Blacktown Showground. This addition was years in the making and holds immense significance for the people of Western Sydney, in particular for Kylie Druitt and for Hayley and Ireland Rhodes. These brave women shared their painful experiences about losing people they loved to family violence, a story that inspired what is now Memorial Grove. I was privileged to join Kylie to visit Memorial Grove with the Deputy Mayor of Blacktown City, Councillor Julie Griffiths, who passionately helped bring this idea to fruition.
Memorial Grove offers a safe space to reflect on the experiences of survivors of family violence, to remember those who have tragically lost their lives at the hands of the people who should have love them the most. At the very centre of Memorial Grove is a sculpture entitled Contemplate. It was designed by Yu-Fang Chi, created in the shape of a tear drop. As Kylie pointed out to me, although it wasn't designed with this in mind, the sculpture allows space for visitors to place flower stems in memory of victims and survivors. Memorial Grove is incredibly important in increasing awareness and understanding around family and domestic violence in Australia.
The Albanese government is committed to providing the leadership and investment to help end this terrible scourge. We know that paid family and domestic violence leave is part of that commitment. It is a long overdue reform that will save lives, and I pay tribute to those who have been fighting for these changes for years, including the union movement. It will enable people, overwhelmingly women, to have the means to escape violent situations without risking their financial security or employment. Our government is delivering 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave for Australian workers, and, in the October budget, the Albanese government committed $1.7 billion in investments to address violence against women, including an additional 500 community frontline workers, consent and respectful relationships education in schools, safe and affordable housing for women fleeing violence and a new Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commission. I thank Blacktown City Council, Kylie, Hayley and Ireland; and my colleagues ministers Rishworth, Gallagher and Burke for these vital contributions to help eliminate family violence. This work will create a safer future for generations of Australian women and men to come.