As the Labor candidate for Liverpool at the upcoming NSW State Election, I am very conscious of listening to the voices of people who often don’t get a seat at the decision-making table.
Recently, the Shadow Minister for Women and Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Jodie Harrison MP, was in Liverpool to announce that a Minns Labor Government will boost funding for Liverpool Women’s Health Centre.
As part of her visit to Liverpool, she and I met with women from different cultural backgrounds to understand the unique experiences and needs of communities in south-west Sydney.
Over hot chai and pakoras, we had a wide-ranging discussion with women from various cultural backgrounds on how women in our communities have stepped up in a variety of different ways to support each other and the many challenges that still exist.
Under Labor’s plan, the current funding for Women’s Health Centres NSW will be doubled, with a $100 million investment over five years.
For almost half a century, Liverpool Women’s Health Centre (CCCWHC) has provided a range of health, counselling and crisis support services for women in the Liverpool and surrounding areas. The service is vital in providing a safe place for women who may fall through the cracks of the health system and otherwise end up in acute care.
Labor’s commitment will ensure Liverpool Women’s Health Centre can keep its doors open and continue to provide specialised health care services for thousands of women in the Liverpool area each year.
It will also reduce pressure on our hospitals, as women can access healthcare where they need it, when they need it, without having to go to an Emergency Department. Every dollar invested in Women’s Health Centres is $1.71 in avoided costs for the NSW government.
Under Labor, the new investment will mean Liverpool Women’s Health Centre is able to:
- Increase staff retention,
- Reduce waitlists for counselling appointments,
- Reduce numbers of women turned away from services,
- Reduce gaps in availability of local services,
- Adapt services to emerging demographic trends and population growth,
- Adapt services to address the complexity of presenting health issues.
This announcement follows Labor’s commitment to deliver more job security and funding certainty for key community health and family and domestic violence services by introducing longer-term five-year funding arrangements, and to boost funding to the NSW Sexual Violence Helpline.
Those who attended the discussion with the Shadow Minister for Women highlighted the unique needs of women who may be new migrants to Australia and do not understand the system or the resources and support available to them.
This gap is currently being filled by women and community organisations within our communities who may provide information and support in person or digitally. Jodie Harrison proposed to raise the issues facing new migrant women discussed by the attendees with the Federal Government
South-west Sydney is one of the fastest-growing regions in Australia and has one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse populations. It is important to consider what barriers exist to accessing mainstream services for some, and how we can better support these people or make services more accessible.