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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Sturges betrays the faith

Media Release

Deputy Leader of the State Opposition
Thursday January 19, 2006

Sturges betrays the faith of custodial grandparents in the very inquiry he partipcated in

Deputy Liberal Leader Will Hodgman today accused Labor backbencher Graeme Sturges of betraying custodial grandparents who placed their faith in a Parliamentary inquiry he participated in and which offered hope that Labor would actually do something to address their plight.

Mr Hodgman said it was shameful that Mr Sturges had failed to grasp one of the key issues arising from the inquiry which reported to Parliament way back in 2003 and that is the overwhelming need to address the paltry $2 a day payment which Custodial Grandparents receive from the State Labor Government.

“I was a member of the inquiry and was deeply moved by the traumatic accounts provided by those grandparents who took part in this process of the huge difficulties they face raising their grandchildren in usually unexpected and extremely challenging circumstances.

“These people are usually pensioners who struggle to cope with the unexpected financial burden that they have taken on in raising their grandchildren in these circumstances.

“They go without, and quite often their grandchildren have to go without certain things like participation in sporting events and the like, simply because their grandparents, for example, cannot afford the petrol to take them there.

“Mr Sturges was also a part of this committee, along with Labor MPs Lin Thorp, Brenton Best and Allison Ritchie.

“One of the main recommendations of their report was that DHHS develop guidelines to ensure that eligible grandparents with parental responsibility for their grandchildren receive the same benefits as foster carers or at least $150 a week, compared with the current $14.

“This is a recommendation that has been largely ignored by the Lennon Labor Government, even though Labor has been more than happy to for, example, lavish taxpayers money on providing Mr Sturges with an electorate office in a building just a stone’s throw from that of fellow Labor Denison MHA David Bartlett, because the two are at war with each other and will not tolerate being in the same building.

“Grandparents continue to phone my office in huge distress at the lack of commitment by Mr Sturges’ Labor Government colleagues to fixing this crisis.

“For Mr Sturges to defend the indefensible as he did yesterday and to do so having been witness to the deeply moving accounts provided by Custodial Grandparents at the inquiry he participated in is shocking and only further highlights how arrogant and out of touch he and his Lennon Labor Government have become.”

For more information, please contact:
Georgia Warner (03) 6233 2370 or 0418 564 073


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