The Liberal Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell has called for the Andrews Labor Government to establish health services that will provide support to young women and new parents in Shepparton.
Speaking during two separate adjournment debates in State Parliament this week, Ms Lovell highlighted the lack of support in Shepparton for local women regarding sexual and reproductive health and for new parents facing the many challenges that comes with having a newborn baby.
Sexual and reproductive health centres are currently located in eight locations around Victoria in Bendigo, Wangaratta, Frankston, Ballarat, Dandenong, Laverton, Ringwood and Gippsland. No such facility is located in Shepparton or the Goulburn Valley.
Similarly, Ms Lovell expressed disappointment that Shepparton again missed out as a location for one of the seven new parenting centres to be established from funding from the 2019/20 State Budget. The new centres planned for regional Victoria will be in Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat.
“The Shepparton community have long advocated the need for a mother & baby unit to be established and it is frustrating that other areas that already have mother & baby services are also earmarked for addition services focussing on women’s health and new parents support,” Ms Lovell said.
Ms Lovell said that statistics show that Shepparton and the Goulburn Valley is in greater need for such services than other regional centres.
“Greater Shepparton has the second highest teenage pregnancy rate in Victoria and suffers from a higher socio-economic disadvantage than most other areas of Victoria including Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat.”
“Shepparton and the Goulburn Valley is an area of greatest need for such services and it is disappointing the State Government is not providing the support for women and new parents where it is needed most,” Ms Lovell said.
“It is vital that these two centres that provide very important services to young women and new parents are established in areas of need and that is why I have called on the Minister to provide both services right here in Shepparton.”
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