For this budget I have been advocating to government for more funding for social services in Prahran, so I was really pleased to see funding for the improvement of facilities at Uniting Prahran in today’s state budget as part of the emerging with stronger communities program to support the social recovery of Victorian communities. Uniting Prahran, like community services across the state, has played an invaluable role in supporting people through the pandemic and now as we recover and heal, with so many people pushed to the margins or off the edge and falling through the cracks. The pandemic has resulted in a massive increase in demand for Uniting services in Prahran, particularly for emergency relief, due to the rising cost of living. There has also been an increase in people presenting with distress and with complex health needs. Uniting has identified a safe and welcoming reception area as a key action that could increase its service reach and impact and provide a significant benefit to the community.
I have been pleased to advocate for Uniting Prahran to the state government. I always really appreciate visiting Uniting, just as I did as recently as last week at their winter breakfast to meet with clients, and it is always good to see some familiar faces—volunteers and Uniting staff. People were given a good breakfast and, more importantly, a chance to connect with the community and with services. Social justice and caring for people in need and for our community’s most disadvantaged are values that I share.