Greens NSW response to NSW Government’s Domestic and Family Violence Package

6 May 2024

Following the NSW Labor Government’s announcement of a four-year $230 million emergency funding package to address domestic and family violence, pulled together over the weekend, the Greens NSW have acknowledged the commitments as a step in the right direction. 

However, a funding commitment of less than $60 million dollars a year shows there is still a lot more that remains to be done.

Even after the money from this latest emergency package is included, NSW is still likely to be funding responses to domestic and family violence at between half and two thirds that which is being provided by Victoria.

 

It’s also unclear exactly how much of this money is genuinely new additional funding, and how much is ‘new’ money to continue funding existing programs and pilots with prior funding commitments expiring either this year or next.*

 

Quotes attributable to Abigail Boyd, Greens NSW Spokesperson for Gendered Violence and Abuse:

 

“It’s good to see the NSW Labor government finally moving on this issue, and at least saying the right kind of things. Taken at face value, this funding package will begin to help more people, and that should be welcomed. The identified programs are meaningful and evidence-based and deserve to be funded. But this is hardly a transformative level of investment at all comparable to what the Victorian government committed.

 

“When you put this announcement in context, when you consider the scale of the crisis, and you look at the NSW government annual expenditure of around $120 billion dollars, you have to ask yourself if the government is genuinely pulling all of the levers at their disposal.

 

“The sad reality is that we are starting from a position so retrograde, so inadequate, that we’ve become trained to be grateful for crumbs. But frankly I think the public, and certainly those hoping to flee violent relationships, won’t be satisfied with crumbs and are right to demand the rest of the cake.

 

“A key feature missing in this announced package is a comprehensive workforce strategy. Decades of government inaction, underfunding and piecemeal grants programs have created a highly precarious, highly feminised workforce that has been picking up the slack for governments for too long, leading to high rates of attrition with as many as one-in-five roles going unfilled.

 

“Legislative tweaks and pretty words are all well and good, but at the end of the day it’s the workers in the hundreds of frontline services operating around this state that are doing the work keeping women and children safe. A properly funded and considered workforce strategy is vital to achieve the outcomes we are all looking for. A workforce strategy would also go a long way towards demonstrating to these frontline services that the government is in this for the long haul, and that funding won’t whittle away again when the cameras leave.

 

“Domestic violence is a problem right across the state, and so too is the underfunding of frontline services. We need a uniform uplift of a minimum 20% in baseline funding to all specialist sexual, domestic and family violence services in NSW, with longer term funding agreements so services can plan and prepare for the future, and workers can take jobs with the confidence funding for their roles won’t be slashed year-to-year.

 

“The government needs to be really open and transparent with people right now. We need confidence in their response to this crisis that has been going on for too long. Inflated figures and creative accounting won’t sit well with a public so thoroughly fed up with spin without substance.

 

“The NSW Treasurer, Daniel Mookhey, has recently made a big show of talking up budget pressures, framing funding priorities as ‘Must Haves’ and ‘Nice to Haves’. By any discernible metric, finally addressing the epidemic of gendered violence is a ‘Must Have’.”

 

ENDS

 

Further info:

* Staying Home, Leaving Violence was funded $32 million over four years in the 2021/22 budget. It is unclear whether the government’s announced $48 million dollars over four years includes money already allocated for 2024/2025 from the 21/22 budget, whether this is simply a continuation of this program at similar levels of funding as it has received in the preceding years, or whether this $48m is an additional $12 million dollars a year on top of the the amount that would have been spent to continue the program at existing levels of funding.

 

Similarly, it appears the $48m funding for workers who support children accompanying their mothers to refuges is simply a continuation at current funding levels to support the existing 20 Specialist Children and Young People Workers in NSW refuges whose funding was only funded for 12 months and is due to expire this year.



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