Community facilities | August 12, 2022

Backing Lowan’s Neighbourhood Houses

Neighbourhood Houses across the Lowan electorate will have a secure future and increased funding under a plan announced by the Nationals.

Under the Andrews Labor Government, the Neighbourhood House network has faced continued funding uncertainty that has left many houses in danger of closing, while also enduring staff and program cuts.

Member for Lowan and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Emma Kealy said the Nationals were committed to ensuring appropriate funding and resourcing for Neighbourhood Houses to support some of the most vulnerable people in the community, should they win government in November.

“Lowan’s 10 Neighbourhood houses play a pivotal role in our communities. They not only offer education and training courses and a range of public services and activities, but some such as those in Kaniva, Rainbow and Casterton are home to Men’s Shed groups, while others including Murtoa and Warracknabeal operate childcare services,” Ms Kealy said.

“Additionally, over the past year our neighbourhood houses have been the go-to point for people needing assistance with applying for the Victorian Power Saving Bonus, and have consequently helped hundreds of people to secure this much-needed $250 payment.

“They are such an important meeting and connection point for our communities, yet the future of as many as 27 Neighbourhood Houses is now in jeopardy due to funding uncertainty from the Andrews Labor Government.

“This is despite a concerted effort three years ago by the sector – supported by The Nationals – to secure an additional $5.4 million annually that was used for core service provision purposes, with staff placed on permanent contracts and new programs established.”

Ms Kealy said Victoria’s Neighbourhood Houses were shocked to be later told the funding was a once-off, meaning the possible closure of 12 rural Neighbourhood Houses, the axing of some programs, some staff no longer having an ongoing position, and a reduction of 154,000 hours across the remaining centres.

“The Victorian Nationals will not let that occur and have committed to making this funding recurrent,” she said.

“We understand the terrific work done by our Neighbourhood Houses and their need to plan their future with certainty.

“We will not sit by and watch a number of them close, leaving communities without vital programs that help regional families in the face of skyrocketing living costs.

“The Andrews Labor Government has had a chance to rectify its error, but its inadequate response was a two-year extension until 2024, which solves none of the overarching issues around future uncertainty.

“Only a Nationals Coalition Government will ensure our Neighbourhood Houses receive the long-term funding they need to support our local communities.”

Neighbourhood Houses in Lowan

  • Hamilton Community House
  • Old Courthouse Community Centre, Casterton
  • Horsham Neighbourhood House
  • Nhill Neighbourhood House Learning Centre
  • Rainbow Neighbourhood House
  • Budja Budja Neighbourhood House, Halls Gap
  • Harrow Neighbourhood House
  • Kaniva LINK Neighbourhood House
  • Murtoa and District Neighbourhood House
  • Warracknabeal Neighbourhood House and Learning Centre
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