Mr NORTHE (Morwell) — I rise today to call upon the Labor government to provide funding in the upcoming budget for a number of projects and organisations in the Morwell electorate. For example, the Gippsland Carers Association (GCA) provides important support and advocacy services across our region, but it faces significant challenges if state government support is not forthcoming. Through funding from the former coalition government and philanthropic sources, GCA was able to recruit staff to assist its administrative and carer support services, but this is now in severe jeopardy. The coalition had previously allocated $100 000 to GCA with a further $120 000 committed prior to the 2014 election.
However, the Andrews Labor government has completely ignored pleas for assistance. Without a commitment from the Labor government, GCA staff will most likely be lost, services compromised and the financial position of GCA severely tested. Similarly mental health advocacy group Barrier Breakers benefited from funding by the coalition government but yet again the Andrews Labor government has indicated that it will not provide any financial support for this organisation. Barrier Breakers relies heavily on the goodwill of volunteers and without funding to assist its administrative operations I fear that mental health services and support will be reduced across the Gippsland region.
Our community has also campaigned long and hard for projects such as the redevelopment of the Latrobe Performing Arts Centre and a public heated indoor pool in Traralgon. These projects deserve the support of the Labor government, and I call on the Premier to provide funding in the upcoming budget for these initiatives, along with recognising and funding the important work of both the Gippsland Carers Association and Barrier Breakers.