Lalor has wonderful community agencies delivering smart, efficient, strategic programs that support the most vulnerable in my community. They work together creatively to ensure maximum bang for the federal grant buck. They all rely on a paid and unpaid workforce to support individuals and families on their worst day, and beyond that worst day until they are back on their feet. These organisations have been operating with an austerity axe posed above their heads since this government took office.
In that time, we have: had a PC report outlining positive outcomes this sector gets; had a Senate inquiry to which my community groups made individual and collective submissions demonstrating their commitment; had $270 million cut as announced in the budget; seen the dismantling of the COAG; seen worsening unemployment and dramatic increases in evictions—a real problem in my electorate and the queues are getting longer by the day.
And, finally, on the eve of the long awaited grant announcement we have a sector in confusion. Services who have worked in my electorate for decades are still unsure what their responsibilities will be, how far their grant will need to stretch and who they will be working alongside and with.
My community deserves better. These agencies deserve better. Our most vulnerable deserve better. These grants support people through their worst days. These grants create positive outcomes in the worst circumstances.