By Sean Lennon
MELBOURNE — As Premier Joan Kirner held her mini-summit on youth unemployment on June 25, a crowd of around 200 people demonstrated on the steps of the state parliament. The rally, organised by an umbrella group called CRICIS (Coalition for Restoring Community Infrastructure), was called to protest against the government's cuts to community service funding at a time when record unemployment is placing the greatest demand on these services.
The services most affected by cuts include local libraries, maternal and child health services, public housing, services to the aged, kindergartens, poverty action programs and help for young offenders.
The cuts to maternal and child health services have devastated a service which is used by 96% of Victorian families. Some centres have been forced to close down during holidays, or if a nurse is on sick leave.