My adjournment matter is directed to the Minister for Community Services, Mary Wooldridge. It is in relation to an organisation in Portland called Loaves and Fishes, which is a food bank that provides emergency food relief for those in need in the Portland area. The volunteers, staff and committee of management of Loaves and Fishes do an outstanding job for their community by helping those who are most vulnerable and in need of compassion and a helping hand.
In the week leading up to the November 2010 election, the member for South-West Coast in the Assembly, Denis Napthine, committed $50 000 for Loaves and Fishes if the coalition won government. It is now seven months later, and Loaves and Fishes has not seen any of the promised money. In his own press release issued on 22 November 2010, Dr Napthine said:
“In the past 12 months Loaves and Fishes has helped 1986 clients, compared to 1260 the previous year and 907 the year before. This is a 120 per cent increase in demand over the past three years.
… now it’s time to look at expanding the facilities at Loaves and Fishes and to plan ahead for the next five years …”
However, according to the Portland Observer of 10 June, when calls are made to the office of the member for South-West Coast, the response is that:
“… the commitment will be honoured ‘within the current cycle’, but no details as to a definite date or what ‘within the current cycle’ means.”
Loaves and Fishes is an emergency food relief organisation, and Dr Napthine himself has stated that demand on this organisation has increased significantly and that now is the time to expand the facilities. If ‘now’, on 22 November 2010, was the time to expand the facilities, why has the Baillieu government not come good with its promise of $50 000 for this organisation? The action I seek from the Minister for Community Services is that she pay the $50 000 election promise to Loaves and Fishes as soon as possible and before the end of this financial year.