State of crisis: Greens demand NSW Labor match Victorian funding to combat domestic and family violence epidemic

Today in Parliament, Abigail gave notice of a motion demanding the NSW Labor Government commit to properly funding domestic and family violence services and programs, at a level on par with the Victorian Government as a bare minimum.

Abigail said:

I give notice that on the next sitting day I will move: 

(1) That this House notes that:

  • NSW domestic and family violence services have been funded at levels significantly below demand for decades and that measures to prevent, respond to and aid recovery from domestic and family violence have not received adequate funding from government;
  • the levels of funding provided by the NSW Government for domestic and family violence services and programs has significantly lagged behind that spent in Victoria, including:
    • in the 2020-21 Budget, the NSW Government committed $160.5 million compared to $435.7 million dollars by the Victorian Government;
    • in the 2021-22 Budget, the NSW Government committed $204.9 million compared to $582.6 million in Victoria;
    • in the 2022-23 Budget, the NSW Government committed $262.7 million compared to $613 million in Victoria; and
    • the NSW Labor Government’s 2023-24 Budget delivered only $39.1 million in new funding overall for domestic, family and sexual violence initiatives compared to at least $77 million of new funding in Victoria; and
  • in its 2023-24 budget submission, Domestic Violence NSW (DVNSW) called for an annual funding increase of $176.35 million, to which the NSW Labor Government responded by providing barely 20% of that recommended amount.

(2) That this House further notes that:

  • the NSW Women’s Alliance, a coalition of peak organisations and state-wide specialist service providers with expertise in preventing and responding to sexual, domestic and family violence and chaired by DVNSW, put forward a comprehensive plan for responding to domestic and family violence in the lead up to both the 2019 and 2023 state elections;
  • DVNSW, the peak body for specialist domestic and family violence services in NSW, representing over 170 member organisations, prepares a budget submission each year as part of the NSW Budget process, setting out priorities for funding and other reform;
  • together the domestic and family violence sector in NSW, including victim-survivors, frontline workers and other experts, has been providing specialist advice to the NSW Government for decades, setting out in detail the measures and funding required to be implemented to tackle domestic and family violence and increase the safety and wellbeing of women and children in NSW; and
  • successive NSW governments have failed to heed the domestic and family violence sector’s calls for greater long-term secure funding, leaving the sector in crisis with demand for services unable to be met, workers leaving the sector for less precarious and better paid roles, and victim-survivors being unable to find safe shelter or resources to rebuild their lives.   

(3) That this House notes that, ahead of the 2024-25 budget, DVNSW has called for measures including:

  • a funding increase of $145 million annually for existing domestic and family violence services to meet current demand;
  • an additional $80 million annually to expand specialist services to respond directly to women, children and young people impacted by domestic and family violence, so nobody seeking assistance ever needs to be turned away;
  • $100 million over the next four years to stop the violence before it starts by releasing, funding, and implementing the NSW Strategy for the Prevention of Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence 2024-2027;
  • the immediate construction of 7,500 new social and affordable homes in NSW each year for 20 years and an exit pathway out of crisis refuges by building an additional transitional homes for women, children and young people; and
  • an increase to the core funding of DVNSW and additional funding to assist it in its support and advisory functions.

(4) That this House further notes that:

  • the NSW Government’s recently announced so-called ‘emergency package’ provides funding of $230 million over four years, which is less than a quarter of what the domestic and family violence sector has been calling for; and
  • even including the recently announced funding, NSW will still be funding domestic and family violence responses at between half and two thirds of what is provided by the Victorian Government.

(5) That this House calls on the NSW Labor Government to commit to providing funding to tackle the domestic and family violence crisis at a level at least comparable to the Victorian Government.

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