International Women’s Day

I rise today to congratulate the 35 women of Hobsons Bay in Melbourne’s west who were awarded an Inspiring Woman award on International Women’s Day. The awards provided an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate women who have exhibited a strong commitment to making our community a better place. The hardworking women who received awards hailed from diverse backgrounds and possessed varying interests. Among the winners were women who worked across all sections of the community. The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day in the west was The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum. With this in mind — and it is always dangerous to single anyone out — I would like to pay special tribute to Jenny Hickinbotham, an award recipient who founded Household Disaster Relief Fund, a charity that assists women fleeing family violence to access emergency support for necessities such as fridges, car repairs, bedding and the like. We have seen an increase in instances of family violence, particularly reported instances, to the tune of 37 per cent in the past year, on top of a rise of 40 per cent the year before, so charities like this play an extremely important role in our community. I congratulate Jenny on her well-deserved award, and congratulate all the other award recipients.