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Power and passion as former Queensland premier hits town

YWCA NSW CEO and former Queensland premier Anna Bligh was in Lismore to launch a new interactive service at the Lismore Base Hospital.
YWCA NSW CEO and former Queensland premier Anna Bligh was in Lismore to launch a new interactive service at the Lismore Base Hospital. Marc Stapelberg

FORMER Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has gone from running one of Australia's biggest states to running the NSW branch of the YWCA, but she's lost none of her passion.

Following her retirement from politics after Queensland Labor's defeat in 2012, she moved to Sydney, endured a well-publicised battle with cancer, and then became CEO of the YWCA six months ago.

Having years ago worked in child care services and women's refuges, the Warwick-born former student activist described her journey as having come 'full circle'.

"It's heartening to see after decades away, there's now a lot more services available for women and families," Ms Bligh said.

"But it's heartbreaking to see we still have so many children still at risk … and domestic violence is still as high as it was 30 years ago."

Ms Bligh noted that today, one woman dies at the hands of her partner or ex-partner every week.

"There is still lots of work to be done," she said.

Yesterday, she visited Lismore for the third time since taking the helm of the YWCA to launch Lismore in Touch, a project which has built a comprehensive list of all the services available to families in Lismore on a single website.

The site will be made available in public spaces via special touch screen kiosks, initially at the Lismore Base Hospital emergency department, the Lismore offices of family support service provider Interrelate, and at the Lismore Courthouse.

The website can be used by parents, young people, community and health workers, and teachers, as a complete directory to family-based services in the area.

It's a simple idea, but a desperately needed one, according to staff at the Northern Rivers YWCA who hatched the idea.

A staff member, employed one day a week to maintain the website, will ensure it remains up-to-date. It's also hoped the project could spread to the rest of the state with each district populating a template website with their own local content.

This week is Child Protection Week, so the launch was timely one, Ms Bligh said.

"We don't believe that families should be left alone to deal with all the challenges of parenthood ... our psychology is it takes a village to raise a child."

As Lynda Hope, senior manager of YWCA Northern Rivers noted, 'child protection is everybody's business'.

Lismore in Touch

The website offers information about when children are unsafe and what to do when there are concerns about a child's safety and wellbeing.

It also provides information about parenting when mental health issues are impacting on a family, and how the community can help vulnerable children.

Available online or at touch screen kiosks at the Lismore Base Hospital emergency department, the Mental Health Unit, and at key locations in Lismore.

Topics:  anna bligh, editors picks, ywca



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