Vulnerable women and children in Gunnedah and district will be provided with important support with the announcement of $196,314 to provide a shelter in the town for the first time.

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said the announcement through the Stronger Country Communities Fund will be a tremendous boost for Gunnedah with the renovation of the Jobs Australia Enterprises facility for a Women’s and Children’s Shelter a refuge for women and children who are leaving a domestic violence situation and have nowhere to go.

“This is fantastic news for the community and will involve a thorough renovation of a house that will provide a safe, secure and supportive environment for those who need it,” Mr Anderson said.

“We have to continually look outside the square on how we protect some of our most vulnerable people.

“There is a growing need for these support services and we can’t have women and children sleeping in cars or couch-surfing.”

“This grant is funding a grassroots project that will make a real difference to this community, and we know how important it is to support our regional towns with new infrastructure and programs.

“This refuge project will also involve the purchase and installation of a solar energy system to help ensure ongoing viability; a security system including CCTV and a duress system connected to a monitoring control room as well as a large number of important amenities to make life more comfortable.

“I am really proud to be involved with a project like this, funded by a program that is really making a difference in rural and regional communities.”

Mr Anderson congratulated Jobs Australia for their successful submission and said he looked forward to continue working with the organisation on the project.

Jobs Australia Enterprises CEO Nigel Barlow said the group is “extremely grateful and very excited to hear the good news of the grant funding”.

“The house will be a thoughtfully designed, comfortable and safe place for woman and children in what is a traumatic time,” Mr Barlow said.

“The Gunnedah project is a model for similar facilities in other areas in the region that have been identified as needing similar support, the backing from Kevin Anderson and his team makes all the difference.”