I rise to speak on the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre Trust annual report
2006-07. It gives me great satisfaction in the year that we celebrate women’s
suffrage in Victoria to speak on this report. The trust has a dual role which is
essentially to manage the heritage building which houses women’s organisations
and to develop capacity-building programs for young women and women generally
throughout our community, whether they be in Melbourne or regional Victoria.
The reporting period of 2006-07 was marked by the 110th
anniversary of the concept of getting a dedicated women’s hospital up and
running for Victorian women. This was celebrated by an open day that included a
display of the works of the centre, its services and a photographic exhibition
and also a cocktail evening.
The open day also included the unveiling of the Shilling Wall
design by the then Minister for Women’s Affairs, Mary Delahunty, and also the
Shilling garden within that site. I take this opportunity to encourage regional
Victorian women in particular when they are in Melbourne to take the opportunity
to visit the centre and take time out to enjoy the surrounds of the Shilling
garden. It is important to reiterate the history of the Shilling Wall.
In 1896, along with a number of other women, Annette
Bear-Crawford, a social worker in Melbourne, formed a committee to get a
fundraising activity under way. Its purpose was to ensure that there was a
dedicated health resource in Melbourne for women. It was called the Shilling
Fund because it was thought that even the most disadvantaged women in Melbourne
and greater Victoria would have the opportunity to contribute and help other
women who were disadvantaged in our community.
The trust runs many programs that centre mainly around capacity
building to enable young women to gain the resources and skills to go out into
their communities to empower themselves and other young women to provide
services and make further contributions in our wider community. The particular
program I mention today is the project on body image. It was launched in 2006
and has continued in various centres in regional Victoria. As I move around
western Victoria, I am often approached at different functions by teachers,
women leaders and young women who have attended the forums and who express their
gratitude for the existence of such a program. The program essentially raises
the awareness of the way women’s bodies are used in advertising in particular,
and then goes on to educate the participants on good habits that will keep
women’s bodies healthy and on how to be mindful of the very narrow stereotypes
used in advertising.
I thank all trust members who give up so much of their time to
be heavily involved, particularly the volunteers at the centre. I applaud
members and volunteers for giving so generously of their energy in support of
the cause of advancing women’s health and wellbeing.
The PRESIDENT — Order! The member’s time has expired.