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Tuesday, 17 September 1985
Page: 619

Senator COATES —My question is directed to the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women. I ask: Now that the Women's Information Service has been operating for several months, can the Minister provide any information on the success of the Service established by the Federal Government in Hobart earlier this year? Has the Service been well received and effective in providing a shop-front community service for Tasmanian women, given the State Government's refusal to recognise the particular needs of women in Tasmania?

Senator RYAN —In the absence of any intention by the present Government in Tasmania to provide any special counselling or advice services for women, our Government did decide in April of this year to open a Women's Information Service office in Hobart. I am pleased to report to Senator Coates that it has been very successful. Nearly 2,000 women have used the centre and 25 women's groups meet there regularly. Officers from the centre have travelled all over the State and have met with more than 40 women's organisations. In July the Women's Information Service organised a women's forum to mark the end of the Decade for Women. This was attended by more than 400 women from all over the State. The Service also acts as a referral centre and the most frequently raised questions relate to discrimination, housing, legal matters, financial problems and health issues. In summary, the Women's Information Service has been very well received by the women of Tasmania and is meeting an area of need which the Gray Government unfortunately has persistently refused to acknowledge.

Senator Peter Baume —I ask the Minister to table the document from which she quoted so extensively in answer to that dorothy dixer.

The PRESIDENT —Will the Minister table the document?

Senator RYAN —I table the document.