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Monday, 2 March 2015
Page: 1619

Mr ZAPPIA (Makin) (13:48): Just prior to Christmas last year the Abbott government slashed $270 million of funding from many of our most important front-line services. These are community organisations that provide critical services such as financial counselling, parenting programs, emergency relief, homelessness support and bushfire victim assistance to some of the most vulnerable Australians. Were it not for these organisations there would be even greater hardship and thus more demand on government assistance.

One of the organisations that has been affected by the cuts is the Northern Community Legal Service, which provides financial counselling from its Modbury and Salisbury offices to people who find themselves in desperate situations. In the first six months of 2014 the organisation assisted some 400 families with financial advice. Financial counselling services provided by the Northern Community Legal Service are scheduled to cease at the end of June 2015 because the service has had its funding application rejected.

Cutting funds to this community organisation is yet another example of the short-sighted policies of the Abbott government, which hit the most vulnerable Australians the hardest. I call on the Abbott government to stop being so miserly, show some compassion and reverse these cuts.