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Thursday, 9 February 2017
Page: 522


Mrs ELLIOT (Richmond) (13:39): I was very pleased last week, along with community representatives, to formally hand over a petition with more than 10,000 signatures calling on the New South Wales state government to restore funding to the Tweed Valley Women's Service. The petition was presented to Jenny Aitchison, New South Wales shadow minister for the prevention of domestic violence, and she will now lodge it for debate in the New South Wales state parliament. I launched this petition in January 2016 after the women's service was forced to close when their contract was suddenly cancelled by their lead agency, On Track Community Programs. This parliamentary debate is now triggered because more than 10,000 people have signed the petition to restore this very important state government funding to the Tweed Valley Women's Service. This is a service which has provided counselling, accommodation and support for women and children for more than 30 years.

The complete inaction by the New South Wales government and the North Coast Nationals MPs over the closure of the Tweed Valley Women's Service is both shameful and irresponsible. We have a domestic violence crisis across this nation, and on the New South Wales North Coast the state National Party MPs Geoff Provest and Thomas George have refused to help this service. It is shameful. As both the state members had shown they were unwilling and unable to do the job they were actually elected to do, I launched this petition, with the support of the community, demanding the New South Wales government restore funding to the Tweed Valley Women's Service, and I continue to call on the New South Wales government to properly fund this service. I thank all those thousands and thousands of people who signed this petition for this very important service.