Agreement reached on additional funding, retention of refuge

MEMBER for Bega Andrew Constance says he is pleased to announce an agreement with Mission Australia and the Department of Family and Community Services has been negotiated for the additional funding and retention of the Bega Women’s Refuge.

As a result, he called on organisers of a rally planned for Monday to call it off.

“Mission Australia this morning [Monday] signed a new contract with the NSW Government to lead the delivery of more and better services across the Bega Valley which will see the Bega Women’s Refuge remain open," Mr Constance said.

“I stated publicly that the women’s refuge would not close it’s doors, that it would remain as a women and children only service and that if additional funding was required, that I would ensure it was found and delivered.

“I congratulate Mission Australia on signing on to deliver homelessness services under the NSW Government’s Going Home Staying Home reforms.

"Under these reforms, local services will be working together to assist people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness or escaping domestic violence,” Mr Constance said.

“For the past two weeks, Labor's scare campaign has been running and they stand condemned for spreading misinformation among some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

“We have today delivered on our promise to protect and maintain services in the Bega Valley, we are a major step closer to delivering the most significant reforms to the homelessness sector in a generation,” Mr Constance said.

“I am now calling on the organisers of a local rally to be held at 12.30pm today [Monday], to call it off given it is outside a women’s refuge," Mr Constance said.

“If you want to hold a rally, do it in front of my office, do not put further strain and stress on victims of domestic violence, it does nothing to support the cause.”

Mr Constance said the NSW Government will invest a record half a billion dollars over the next three years to tackle homelessness.

“Crucially, the reforms will put more focus on early intervention and prevention. They put more focus on catching people before they fall into crisis point,” he said.

Mission Australia will deliver the Bega Valley Homelessness Support Service, which includes support for single men and women as well as families, including women and children experiencing domestic and family violence who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“I know firsthand the work being done by the Department of Family and Community Services, to ensure incoming service providers and unsuccessful providers to get the transition to a new system right.

“The Bega Women’s Refuge’s doors will remain open and Mission Australia is working with SEWACS to ensure a smooth transition.

 “The NSW Government is committed to delivering reform that will better support those in need and help break the cycle of homelessness.”

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