‘I was very impressed by the proposal put forward by the Brisbane Sikh Temple and congratulate them on receiving this funding’, says Luke Howarth, the Assistant Minister for Community Housing, Homelessness and Social Services. This grant will 'help women and children of Indian descent in Brisbane,’ he told SBS Punjabi.
The Australian federal government has announced a $60 million funding for the Safe Places program, which will create new accommodation spaces for women and children fleeing family violence.
Speaking to SBS Punjabi, Assistant Minister Luke Howarth said, “This is not a silver bullet, but it is much needed in the community.”
- Brisbane Sikh Temple has received a grant of $231,000 to create more crisis accommodation
- It provides shelter of up to six months to Indian-origin women and children fleeing family violence
- It is one of only four multicultural organisations to receive funding through the Safe Places program
“COVID has changed our world. Families have been living a lot closer together and confined within homes, and at times this has caused domestic and family violence, which is very disappointing to hear.”
Through this program, organisations providing crisis accommodation to victims of family violence will be funded to build new or repurpose existing dwellings.
“There were 40 successful projects and funding has been granted to 34 organisations. We expect that this will help 6,000 more women and children fleeing family and domestic violence.”
A spokesperson from the Department of Social Services has told SBS Punjabi that only four of the 40 successful projects to receive some funding support women and children from multicultural backgrounds. Three of these are in Queensland and one in New South Wales.*
“We didn’t get as many diverse applications as we expected. Even so, the funding has been spread across all states, and has gone to cities, regional areas, and organisations supporting migrant as well as aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities.”
One of the four successful recipients who support multicultural women and children is Sahara House, a shelter run by the Brisbane Sikh Temple, which provides crisis accommodation to women of Indian background.
Mr Howarth said, “I have spoken to Brisbane Sikh Temple and Ms Jatinder Kaur who put up a very impressive application. They had excellent co-investment and they will be receiving $231,000.”
“They are going to help at least 10 women a year, and provide them with six months' stay.”
“I believe this will help women and children in the Brisbane area, especially of Indian descent,” adding that this is a good template for other places of worship to adapt.
The Assistant Minister thanked the Indian community for its contributions and had a message for them.
“It has been a tough 2020, especially for those community members who have family members outside Australia. It's been hard to contact or visit them.
“In relation to family and domestic violence I’d say, we need to love one another, particularly in families – our women, our children, and our men.”
It's not just responsibility for government to provide houses, whether its state or federal governments, it's upto each and every Australian in different communities to take ownership.
“If you see domestic violence, and it might be a friend or mate, that’s when you must speak up and say, hey that’s not the way to treat your wife.”
To hear the full interview with Assistant Minister Luke Howarth, click on the audio player above.
*A spokesperson for the Department of Social Services has told SBS Punjabi “Four of the successful Safe Places grant projects across Australia are designed to support culturally and linguistically diverse clients. They are Acro Australian Community Safety & Research Organisation Inc, Brisbane Sikh Temple (Gurdwara) Inc, Coast2Bay Housing Group Ltd and St Vincent’s Clinic.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, you can seek help at 1800 737 732
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