Making Our View Heard

As family violence and homelessness issues continue to dominate news’ headlines, McAuley has not been idle in putting its view across to politicians, businesses and the community.

A recent productive discussion was held between McAuley’s Chairman Denis Moriarty, Board member Sister Kath Tierney and CEO Jocelyn Bignold and the Hon Mary Wooldridge, Minister for Mental Health, Women’s Affairs and Community Services.

“We met to discuss funding options for a much needed, purpose built accommodation for women who are homeless, and also covered recent reforms in mental illness and community services. ,” said Ms Bignold.

“Of concern also is the loss of funding in the new approach to delivering mental health programs in Victoria, with funding cuts of $4.5 million to specialist agencies, including McAuley, which worked at the intersection of homelessness, mental illness and social housing.”

Ms Bignold believes there is scope for both large and specialist agencies.

“The losers in the end will be the very people we are all trying to assist and in our case, they are highly vulnerable women with mental illnesses who are homeless,” she said. 

McAuley will make a submission into the Senate Inquiry into Family Violence in Australia. The inquiry follows a motion passed recently in the Senate with tri-partisan support for an inquiry into domestic violence. The inquiry will have a particular focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and women with disabilities.

McAuley will also develop a position on the interim McLure Report into Welfare Reform. The report calls for sweeping changes to the way Australia delivers welfare with a particular emphasis on disability support pensions. It also proposes turning the 75 current income payments and available supplements into four new payments that would replace Newstart, Youth Allowance and other benefits.

In the News

McAuley continues to be in the news with a wonderful profile on Jocelyn Bignold in Probono News  and a recent event hosted by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.

Close to 100 people from community groups and businesses gathered at the Visy Care Hub in Sunshine to learn more about family violence and the work that McAuley carries out in the west.

“It was an extraordinary turn out with huge enthusiasm for our Engage to Change program and our refuges and crisis accommodation,” said Ms Bignold.  “We were bowled over by the generosity from the Sunshine Business Association members, led by Bruce White, who donated linen, towels, doonas and even a ladies’ bike to our programs.”