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Adjournment: The Wellington Collingwood

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Samantha Ratnam
Leader of the Victorian Greens
23 June 2022

My adjournment matter tonight is for the Treasurer, and the action I seek is that he guarantees core funding of $175 000 per year for three years for the Wellington Collingwood. The Wellington is a community centre located at the Collingwood public housing estate and has been supporting the Collingwood community since 2004. It is a fantastic organisation that provides really crucial services and support to Collingwood public housing residents and the broader Collingwood community. It offers everything from allied health services like osteopathy and chiropractic services to community cooking sessions, yoga, knitting, drop-in services and information and referrals. It is also an important provider of food security for locals, delivering 27 000 kilograms of food to over 2000 families in a nine-month period. During the pandemic the Wellington has also begun to offer a range of outreach services, helping the centre engage and support vulnerable groups in the community, particularly young people and families from the African nations.

Right now the Wellington is one of the few frontline services providing direct services to tenants within the Collingwood public housing estate. The Wellington has operated without any state government funding for most of its history. It recently received a one-off grant from the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing but was given no guarantee of future funding. For the past three years it has relied on core funding from the federal Department of Social Services and from a philanthropic funding trust. All of these funding sources have concluded, putting the financial sustainability of the Wellington at risk.

Because the Wellington provides so many services to the Collingwood community, it does not fit any of the slots of funding offered by the government. It supports public housing tenants, but it is not a homelessness service. It offers allied health services, but it is not a formal health provider. The breadth of the services offered by the Wellington and the fact they are one of the only frontline services supporting the Collingwood public housing estate makes it clear they are filling gaps in service provision in the area. Cutting them off from funding because they do not fit neatly into a funding box makes no sense. Without recurrent funding from the Victorian government, the Wellington will have no choice but to cease operation at the end of this year. I know I and many members of the Collingwood community will be devastated if the centre is forced to close its doors.

The Wellington is seeking core funding of $175 000 per year for three years from the Victorian government. I echo its ask and ask the Treasurer to commit to ongoing core funding so the Wellington can continue its fantastic work to support the Collingwood community.

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Samantha Ratnam
Leader of the Victorian Greens
23 June 2022
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