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Emergency relief funding cuts hurt Coast

March 09, 2020

The government’s $9 million a year cuts to emergency relief are a blow to our community when many people are doing it tough.

The Wyong Neighbourhood Centre will lose $140,089 each year.

Dawn Hooper, a life member and retired president of the neighbourhood centre, said the centre uses this funding daily to help people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, including women and children fleeing family violence.

The centre also covers Toukley and Wyoming for emergency relief, with less than half the amount it previously needed to service Wyong alone.

In a crisis, emergency relief can keep food on the table, a roof over your head and the power switched on.

The San Remo Neighbourhood Centre Manager, Jillian Hogan, told me that their emergency relief funding stretches to Blue Haven, Charmhaven and The Entrance.

The government’s cuts mean the centre will need to help more people with $20,840 less each year.

Jillian said there are more people, not less, living in poverty.

Since 1 January the centre has provided emergency relief to families affected by the Charmhaven bushfire.

“We helped a 15-year-old Blue Haven girl who burnt her back trying to save her home,” Jillian said.

As a pharmacist in Wyong, I dispensed prescription medication for patients paying with emergency relief vouchers.

It was their only way to afford essential medicine.

This government must reverse these cuts.