I rise to present an approved petition signed by 469 people.
The petition read as follows—
The petition of the Casey Cardenia Community Legal Service draws to the attention of the House the concern about the federal government’s decision to cease on 30 June 2015 the additional funding the centre was meant to receive. This cut in funding will lead to a loss of 1,144 hours of managerial work per year and would undermine the current assistance it provides to over 1,500 local people—mainly women—with family violence issues per year. We therefore ask the House to reinstate the funding of $100,000 per year for four years to continue all of its current operations including maintaining an office at the Fountain Gate shopping centre in Narre Warren.
The electorate that I represent and the immediate constituency is what is known as a growth belt area. It is an area that has many people from different walks of life who choose to make the area around Fountain Gate their home. The Casey Cardenia Community Legal Service services somewhere in the order of about 370,000 people. Many of those people are women. Many of those women are women who have been the sufferers of domestic violence.
I can recall the shadow Attorney-General was here before last year when we announced a four-year funding increase for this community legal service of $100,000 per year. The current location of the Casey Cardenia Community Legal Service centre in Doveton is not the most salubrious of places, I can assure you. What occurred through that funding from the previous federal government was that they were able to access better offices in Fountain Gate around Victor Crescent—it is a very good office—to provide the services that women desperately needed in my constituency. So imagine my horror when I learnt, particularly given that this area has the highest rate of domestic violence or close to it in Victoria, that a service that is desperately needed by women that have been abused—and effectively that is why they are there—to seek legal representation has the funding stripped away from them. It is quite extraordinary. This would then lead to a loss of 1,144 hours of managerial work per year and would undermine the current assistance it provides to over 1,500 local people who are predominantly women.
I cannot believe that a service that is so desperately needed in my constituency has had its funding cut so cruelly. We will continue to lobby until we get this funding reinstated to give the women the service and the protection they need in my area.