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Keating abandons Wills unemployed - N.O.W and forever

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John Hewson Leader of the Opposition M e d i a R e l e a s e

78/92 24 March 1992


The Prime Minister's arrogant dismissal today as to why he and his government are effectively closing down the Northwest Onestop Welfare (N.O.W.) Centre in Brunswick, Victoria demonstrated two things:

. the Prime Minister is clearly unconcerned about the effects of his recession on the young and elderly in the electorate of Wills; and

. the Prime Minister is completely ignorant of the value of the non-government welfare sector in service delivery.

Unable to provide a relevant answer to the people of Wills as to why N.O.W. is to be closed down, Mr Keating resorted to form - abusing the Coalition and distorting the facts by ranting on about the public sector and the C ES.

For the Prime Minister's information, the N.O.W. Centre provides a number of important services to the unemployed and low income earners of Wills (see attached). Yet funding has now been

withdrawn from the Centre because the Government claims the 9.00­ 5.00 Canberra bureaucrats are better placed to deal with the problems of the unemployed than those working at the coalface!

For a Government which prides itself on its alleged understanding of and compassion for the "needy" in the community, this is the pinnacle of hypocrisy.

The Coalition's Fightback! program provides for an annual increase of $50 million to non-government welfare organisations to help expand the level and range of services to the genuinely needy and disadvantaged. Services such as training programs and

family crisis care will be particularly enhanced as we believe they can often be better delivered by the non-government sector than by the Canberra bureaucrat.

In contrast, Labor's One Nation has given a paltry $5 million to the non-government welfare sector. When it comes to social justice Labor clearly is not prepared to put its money where its mouth is .


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Instead of running past the economic and social problems he has created on his fleeting visits to Wills, Mr Keating would do well to go to the workers and clients of N.O.W. and tell them why he has turned his back on them.

In 1975 Prime Minister Gough Whitlam officially opened the N.O.W. Centre. It will be a measure of how much Labor has

abandoned its traditional roots if Mr Keating were to now

officially close it.


Fact Sheet

NO W Centre Agencies

• Community Sendees Victoria

• Co-Care

• North Western Regional Housing Group

• Brunswick Coburg Accommodation Service

• Australian Lebanese Welfare Sendee

• Brunswick Coburg Accommodation Service

• Single Women in Supportive Housing Options

• MASA (Men Against Sexual Assault)

• Victorian Housing Women's Association

• Brunswick Coburg Financial Counselling Service

The drastic consequences o f de-funding the N O W C entre w ill affect:

• Some services w ill cease to exist

• Other services w ill be reduced by at least 40-60% capacity in service delivery

• Emergency accommodation for homeless people and families

• Tenancy advice and information on rights for Brunswick and Coburg's low-income and

high rental population

• Emergency relief to poverty-stricken of Brunswick and Coburg

• General advice and referral services for immediate off-street contact

• Welfare services for the Lebanese community

• Crisis accommodation for the Lebanese community

• Health and sexual/relationship counselling services for young people and people with an

intellectual disability

• HIV/AIDS program for young people

• Support for homeless single women

• Project initiatives for youth with psycho-social special needs

• Co-ordinated policies for housing and support for people with disabilities

• Co-ordination o f issues and government policies which adversely affect residents o f

Brunswick. Coburg and the North West Region.