Ripon MP Louise Staley has presented parliament with 337 postcards from the region’s Neighbourhood Houses calling for the government to honour an election promise.
She presented the peititons on behalf of neighbourhood houses across Ripon, including in Ararat, Stawell and St Arnaud.
The Neighbourhood Houses’ mission is to “bring people together to connect, learn and contribute in their local community through social, educational, recreational and support activities, using a unique community development approach”.
Ms Staley delivered the petition on Tuesday to Families and Children, Early Childhood Education and Youth Affairs Minister Jenny Mikakos.
“Tick tock, time is running out for (Premier) Daniel Andrews to keep his promise to Neighbourhood Houses Victoria,” Ms Staley posted on Facebook.
“Today I delivered to Jenny Mikakos MP the latest batch of 337 postcards from local Neighbourhood Houses calling on her to keep Labor's election promise of 2014 to increase funding for coordinators.
“There's only one budget left for Daniel Andrews to come good.”
Ms Staley was referring to the May 2018/19 state budget, the last before the November election.
In the Neighbourhood House Coordination Program Guidelines 2016-19, Ms Mikakos stated that the government was contributing about $25 million per year.
“Neighbourhood houses play a vital role in building vibrant Victorian communities,” she said.
“They are important places of inclusion and provide valuable social, recreational, educational and training opportunities that enable people to achieve their potential.”
According to statements made to parliament by Coalition spokesperson for families and Children Georgie Crozier, the promise was contained in the Victorian Labor Platform 2014, a document outlining policies and election pledges.
The Labor Party’s campaign document outlined a number of election promises under a section called ‘Neighbourhood Houses and Community Enrichment’.
“Labor will invest in local community infrastructure such as community centres, neighbourhood houses, children’s hubs, men’s sheds, senior citizens centres, sporting facilities and libraries to enable people to achieve their potential and to fully participate in our society,” the document stated.
Some neighbourhood houses in Victoria have participated in the ‘We Deliver Will You?’ campaign for more state government funding.
“Victoria’s Neighbourhood Houses have not received any increase to base funding since 2014 under the LNP State Government when a small increase was provided to underfunded Neighbourhood Houses,” the campaign’s website stated.
“The ALP gave a commitment to invest in Neighbourhood Houses in the 2014 ALP Election Platform yet there has still not been any increase in Neighbourhood House Coordination Program funding.
“Neighbourhood House Networkers provide vital support to Neighbourhood Houses and volunteer committees, yet have not received any increase in funded hours despite working in an environment of increasing needs.”
Ararat Neighbourhood House posted a copy of the campaign materials and petition postcards on its Facebook page in December.