Protests earlier this year through Coolangatta.
Protests earlier this year through Coolangatta. Alina Rylko

Forum protests women’s service closure

MORE than 30 people attended a community forum to protest the closure of Tweed Valley Women's Service at The Haven bar at Murwillumbah on Thursday night.

Richmond MP Justine Elliot, along with Greens candidate Dawns Walker, spoke to those gathered, mostly residents, former counsellors, and former staff of the now-closed service for domestic violence victims.

The sudden closure of the walk-in service on December 22 last year sparked a series of protests at Murwillumbah and Coolangatta.

The service was closed by On Track Community Programs citing breach of contract.

But supporters of TVWS are continuing to refute

the organisation had breached its state-funded contract to provide services to the women of the Tweed.

Women's Watch, a group formed to advocate on behalf of the community, has launched a petition calling on the NSW Government to restore funding to the TVWS.

Women's Watch spokeswoman Ilze Jaunberzins said TVWS would continue to refute the allegations made against it, and could provide evidence but did not have the funding for legal action.

"A group that inspires us is called the Fingal Bay Warrior Women from about 25 years ago, and there four of them stopped a multi- million-dollar development at the beach nearing Rainbow Bay, Queensland, that was illegal," Ms Jaunberzins said.

"With community action and massive amount of work, that illegal develop- ment was stopped," she said.

She said the petition was gaining momentum and support in the shire.

"We hope to get enough signatures to have this matter debated in Parliament," she said.

"To date we have got 5000 hard copy signatures, which asks the Legislative Assembly to restore funding for the service to re-open.

Ms Jaunberzins said about 13 staff members who lost their jobs when TVSW was closed had still not found work.

Tweed MP Geoff Provest, Lismore MP Thomas George and OTCP board chairman John Moloney were invited but did not attend, sending their apologies instead.

Another forum is to be held in the future.

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