Government Services

Jason Clare, Member for Blaxland

When people come into our office looking for help they really do not care about the three different tiers of government; they just want help. They get pretty frustrated when you tell them that their problem is a local government or a state government issue and refer them off to the local state member or the local council. That is why I am organising an event that brings all government services—local, state and federal—together under one roof.

On 10 June between 6.30 pm and 8.30 pm 20 different government agencies will come together at the Bankstown Town Hall. They include Centrelink, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Medicare, the Australian Electoral Commission, the Australian Taxation Office, Housing New South Wales, New South Wales Police, New South Wales Fair Trading, New South Wales Health, New South Wales Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care, Legal Aid, Bankstown Council, Bankstown TAFE as well as local organisations like the Bankstown Family Relationship Centre and a local financial counselling organisation, Creating Links. It is a government services one-stop shop. Doing this will help people who need help from a number of different government agencies—local, state and federal.

In Bankstown unemployment is double the national average. Teenage unemployment is 44 per cent. Over 11,000 people are on Newstart and youth allowance, 18,000 are on the age pension and 33,000 receive family assistance. Bankstown Centrelink makes 88,000 regular payments. Whether you are unemployed or doing it tough or living off a limited income, you are likely to require help from a number of different government agencies including Centrelink, Housing, TAFE or financial counselling support. That is why putting all of these services in the one place makes sense.

Bankstown is also one of the most culturally diverse places in Australia. It is home to people from 130 different countries who speak more than 60 different languages. As we know, navigating through government departments and through three different levels of government can be hard when English is your second language. That is why we will also have resources there on the day to help people from non-English-speaking backgrounds.

I particularly want to thank the Mayor of Bankstown and the state member for Bankstown for their help in putting this event together as well as all the different government departments and non-government organisations that are making themselves available to help the community after hours. It is a simple idea and, hopefully, it will do a lot of good.