House debates

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Constituency Statements

Playford Community Fund Inc.

10:17 am

Photo of Nick ChampionNick Champion (Wakefield, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Manufacturing and Science) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to speak on a very active community organisation in my electorate of Wakefield, the Playford Community Fund. The Playford Community Fund, which is located at Elizabeth City Centre, has been actively helping families and individuals in dire circumstances since 1964. It's operated by volunteers. The Playford Community Fund has provided food for families who cannot afford it and furniture for families who don't have it. They provide bill assistance so struggling families can keep the power on. They help with vital support for women and mothers who have experienced domestic violence or homelessness. They provide assistance in paying prescriptions for those who desperately need medication but often can't afford it. Of course, there are many other services that the Playford Community Fund provides, including financial advice to those who have budgeting issues.

This is a particularly active organisation. It's run 100 per cent by volunteers. It has no paid staff. The volunteers even make the furniture that they give away to some of my constituents and people outside the electorate. And so it's puzzling that the government is now turning its back on them. The first unreasonable demand this government made of the Playford Community Fund, which, I've got to say, was accepted, was to significantly increase the area of service for the fund to operate in but keep the funding static. But the fund has now been notified that from the end of the next financial year their funding will be halved.

Now, there are a great number of examples of government waste I could go into, but I'm not going to do that today, because I don't want to make a partisan speech. I just want to make a plea on behalf of the Playford Community Fund. It is a really important institution in my electorate.

Government Member:

A government member interjecting

Photo of Nick ChampionNick Champion (Wakefield, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Manufacturing and Science) Share this | | Hansard source

Well, I'm talking about a fund that helps people and you're making jokes about it. It's really funny, isn't it? Helping poor people, and you've cut their funding, and you find it funny. It's a big joke!

I make a plea to the government to take this seriously, to actually talk to the fund, to restore their funding, to look at the service area and to try to do some good work for a change rather than treating this all like a big joke, a big game. It's not a game. This is about people who literally face the grinding hardship of poverty. They face unemployment. They face very dire budgeting situations. They have their services cut off. They face homelessness.

The Playford Community Fund is really the last line of defence for many in the community. I urge the government not to treat it as a joke or a laughing matter but rather to help this fund to continue its good work that it has been doing since 1964.