Monday, 7 December 2020
Chifley Electorate: Eagles RAPS, Chifley Electorate: WASH House
Today I want to give the students at Eagles RAPS in Doonside a massive shout-out for their recent graduation. Local young people trained in courses over 12 months after global tech player Amazon Web Services teamed up with Eagles RAPS to help them step into future careers in tech. Well done to Amazon Web Services. The students completed certificate courses in information technology to meet the growing demand for talent in the tech industry and cloud computing in particular. A year ago, I was proud to also support the courses through a donation to Eagles RAPS. I'm proud to stand here today and talk about the first cohort of graduates that emerged from that course. I thank in particular Marten and Sally Wynd, who started Eagles RAPS over 20 years ago as an organisation addressing youth suicide. They started with less than $50 in their bank account and Eagles RAPS has grown to become a centre for vocational education and has supported over 2,000 young people who've studied there. Congratulations to Eagles RAPS, and I look forward to hearing about their future success stories. Importantly, thank you for believing in the capacity of local young people to make things a lot better for themselves out of what they've got ahead of them.
The other issue I wanted to speak about was WASH House, a community based resource centre for women that do a lot of work in our area to combat domestic violence. In recognition of the UN's 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, WASH House held their annual community vigil to honour and remember women and children who died as a result of domestic and family related violence and homicide across Blacktown City. This is a nationwide pandemic, but it struck me, when they read the list of people—the women in particular, and the children who had been affected by this over the last number of decades: one in three Australian women have experienced abuse at the hands of a current or former partner; the Australian police deal with a domestic violence matter every two minutes, an estimated 657 domestic violence matters every single day; and this year alone 48 women have died. This is simply wrong. We need to face up to this as a nation. We need to speak about this more. Importantly, we need to do something about it. We've got service and policy gaps, insufficient funding, inadequate consultation and cuts plaguing the sector for people who are working hard to help women and children fleeing violence. We need to provide frontline services with the resources they need to tackle the pandemic. I was saddened to hear that a bid for funding by local organisations had been denied at the federal level. I would hope that we can see funds flow into our local area to support those groups that are supporting particularly vulnerable people who are facing the most difficult time in their lives.