In Victoria, the State Treasurer has called in the ANHLC Budget Submission to Government early and representatives have been able to outline their needs for this sector’s future viability. Treasurer Brumby was impressed with the clarity and professionalism of the presentation and acknowledged that it was ‘timely’ as the Government is currently developing its Social Policy Statement. The ANHLC February Newsletter states that they have spoken directly with the Premier, Deputy Premier and the Treasurer in the last four months. Regardless of the Budget outcomes, this has created a strong foundation to continue advocacy for increased funding for the sector leading up to next election.
On Australia Day 2005, many Neighbourhood Houses, Learning Centres round and their co-ordinators around Australia will have been honoured for achievements in their communities. There does seem to be an increased awareness of the value of their work.
Three Australia Day Awards we know of are:
1. Mt Beauty, Victoria, Neighbourhood House was named Community Organisation of the Year by the Alpine Shire.
2. Marg Fennell, co-ordinator of Montrose, Victoria’s Japara Neighbourhood House received the Shire of Yarra Ranges Australia Day Certificate of Recognition.
3. Anne Horrigan-Dixon, co-ordinator of the Fitzroy Learning Network (FLN) Melbourne, was awarded the City of Yarra’s Citizen of the Year Award for her work with refugees. An embarrassed Anne thanked her great team and the wonderful community-minded people who help look after refugees from Detention Centres in so many practical and financial ways eg:
(i) $6,000 in community donations to FLN before Christmas;
(ii) a young couple getting married asked for wedding presents to be donated to FLN;
(iii) the Victorian State Government has recognised the FLN effort and given a grant of $75,000 for 2004-5 to support Temporary Protection Visa holders (TPVs);
(iv) 2 Afghan students have been granted permanency, helped greatly by Professor William Maley’s expertise in preparing a report for government on their area in Afghanistan;
(v) The City of Greater Dandenong has given the Hazara Association of Victoria a house to continue their work in assisting refugees in Melbourne;
(vi) Melbourne Uni has accepted 2 new arrivals from Sudan.