House debates

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Statements by Members

Dobell Electorate: Community Centres

1:42 pm

Photo of Emma McBrideEmma McBride (Dobell, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Mental Health) Share this | | Hansard source

Scott Morrison's $9 million a year cuts to emergency relief are a blow to my community. The Wyong Neighbourhood Centre will lose $140,089 each year. Dawn Hooper is a life member and retired president of the neighbourhood centre. She said the centre uses this funding daily to help people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, including women and children fleeing family violence. The centre also covers Toukley and Wyoming for emergency relief, with less than half the amount it previously needed to service Wyong alone.

In a crisis, emergency relief can keep food on the table, a roof over your head and the electricity connected. The San Remo Neighbourhood Centre Manager, Jillian Hogan, told me that their emergency relief funding stretches to Blue Haven, Charmhaven and The Entrance in my electorate. Scott Morrison's cuts mean the centre will need to help more people with $20,840 less each year. Jillian said there are more people, not less, living in poverty. Since 1 January the centre has provided emergency relief to families affected by the Charmhaven bushfire. 'We helped a 15-year-old Blue Haven girl who burnt her back trying to save her home,' Jillian said. As a pharmacist in Wyong, I dispensed prescription medication for patients paying with emergency relief vouchers. It was their only way to afford their medicine. Scott Morrison lavished millions on sports rorts but has forced local neighbourhood centres to turn away people in crisis. Scott Morrison should step up and reverse these cuts. (Time expired)