Mr HUSIC (Chifley) (09:30): We all know the Abbott government needs help because whenever you see what they are doing you realise the mess that they are in and the help that they need is massive. What is sadder is that there are groups in our community that are paying the price as a result of the ineptitude of this government. I see it in my community all the time. There are a whole raft of community groups that are being affected as a result of funding decisions that are being made or funding decisions that will see funding taken away. I could use all my time in this constituency statement to list the number of projects and organisations who have seen their support massively cut back or stripped completely, but I just want to mention a few.
Anglicare runs a mobile playgroup that operates in Bidwill, Emerton, Shalvey and Mount Druitt. It provides our children with vital learning skills for working out how to relate to others. They do a massive job in an area of high need. Federal funding for them is going to dry up in June. Just before Christmas I heard that funding has been cut for the Philippine-Australian Community Services Inc, which has been around since 1989 helping in the settlement process for Philippino-Australians who have made a great contribution in our area.
Marist Youth Care’s Youth Connections is a program that is helping youth in our area earn and learn rather than slip off the rails. Its funding has gone, slashed in the Abbott government’s first budget. As a result of that, another group that had also been contracted through Marist Youth Care, Eagles Raps at Doonside, is facing a bleak future as well. They are an amazing group of people operating a learning facility out of an old fire station. They are helping youth in Doonside achieve basic school qualifications. When I visited them they were very worried about their future and are having to do fund raising as a result because they do not have the funding to support them, and that is just terrible.
The other thing that I wanted to make quick reference to today is the threat of cuts in another area, this time an assault on nursing. The nursing profession is fearful that the review of fair work laws will see a return of the diabolical Work Choices and an attack on penalty rates. I cannot believe that there may be any cut on penalty rates, which help sustain nurses on the weekend in terms of their jobs, and that they are seeing the potential of their penalty rates being cut. It is disgraceful that we could undervalue the effort of a group of people that does so much for us and is there providing support when we need it most. I note there is a national protest on the issue of penalty rates today, including a rally outside here. I want nurses to know that I and the constituents of Chifley certainly value their work and we want to ensure their penalty rates are protected.