Speeches Chris has made in the Australian Federal Parliament.

Constituent Statement - Bonnie Services

February 03, 2016

Mr HAYES (FowlerChief Opposition Whip) (10:24): Recently, I visited the Bonnie Support Services in my electorate. I met with the chair, Betty Green, and CEO, Tracy Phillips. They both have enjoyed more than 25 years experience in the community sector. Bonnie provides services to those in need; not just a roof over their heads, but a range of services for individuals who face very complex trauma. Bonnie provides for women and their children; helping them enjoy their lives as best as possible. They provide services and accommodation to women and their children who are escaping domestic violence. Domestic violence is a scourge on our community. This is the only specialist service available to women in south-west Sydney. Due to the magnitude and very serious nature of domestic violence, many shelters find themselves completely under-resourced and working under strain.


Homelessness Australia found that an extra $68 million in funding would save 3,000 domestic violence victims from being turned away from crisis accommodation. As part of Bonnie's Going Home Staying Home reform, such funds would enable them to do more work with women and, certainly, to engage with them and their families as they deal with these services. For the handful of specialist domestic violence services left in New South Wales such as Bonnie—they are struggling under the tsunami of demand.


Apart from living in a safe environment, women need to feel empowered. They need to be able to get themselves out of traumatic situations. Bonnie offers a range of services in that regard to assist their trained staff: caseworkers, tenancy advisers, family and community workers, child support workers and outreach officers.


They also give support, which is very important in my electorate, to women from very diverse backgrounds. In addition to the government's commitment to fight domestic violence—and I remind them to maintain the level of support needed—it is important to protect women and their children. Put simply, domestic violence is not okay. I am happy to be part of a community that holds true to the notion that violence against women is never acceptable. The White Ribbon march in Cabramatta last year was a reminder of this, and an opportunity for our community to remember victims of domestic violence.


I would like to acknowledge all staff at Bonnie's, and also the other support services, for making a real difference in the lives of many. Congratulations.