Federation Chamber - CONSTITUENCY STATEMENTS - Good Samaritan Inn, Orange Sky

12 February 2019

Last week I visited the Good Samaritan Inn. This is an organisation in my electorate that provides emergency accommodation services to women fleeing family and domestic violence. The Good Samaritan Inn was started by the Good Samaritan Sisters. It's an organisation run by women for women. They've operated in Preston, on the smell of an oily rag, for over 20 years helping countless families escape the violence and setting them up for a new safe life. I saw how they placed the needs of their clients at the forefront of everything they do.

While the women are safe in secure accommodation, the Good Samaritan Inn provides 24-hour practical and emotional services, including counselling, risk and safety support and access to Centrelink and court services like intervention orders and application support. It is this model that makes crisis housing so crucial. It brings women and children into a safe place and allows them the opportunity to rest, to recover and to plan for the rest of their lives. The women I spoke to said that this part was crucial. In fact, one woman said that the few days she spent at the crisis centre allowed her to clear her head, where before she was just filled with panic and worry. Crisis housing must be a part of any response to family violence. Ensuring women are safe while they plan how to leave a violent partner in a permanent way is incredibly important. But it is not just accommodation. Leaving a mum and kids in a lonely motel room is not the answer. They need the support of professionals in that terrible time.

I note yesterday that Scott Morrison made a big song and dance, swooping in as the male saviour for women, when announcing funding for family violence. I know this is an important issue and we are pleased there was funding announced, but, to be clear, all the Prime Minister did yesterday was reverse the Liberals' own cuts to the housing and support services that women and children fleeing family violence relied on. The simple fact remains that the Liberals cut $44 million in annual funding for emergency housing in the 2014 horror budget. Labor is committed to ensuring women are able to end violent and abusive relationships as safely as possible. I thank the Good Samaritan Inn for the work they do.

I'd also like to give a huge shout out to another fabulous organisation, Orange Sky, who this week are launching their mobile laundry service for the north-western suburbs of Melbourne. I'm sorry I'm missing your launch. If I were there I'd tell you how wonderful you are and what a great service you provide, helping homeless people get dignity and surety through being able to access a laundry service. This might seem like a small thing, a simple thing, but this does give a very important service to people who otherwise would not be able to access it. The co-founders, Nick and Lucas, have an incredible team of volunteers. Orange Sky provides free mobile laundry and shower services to people experiencing homelessness, but they also provide accommodation, friendly faces and much-needed conversation. Thank you very much for all you do.