Given the pressing need to increase funding to frontline domestic and family violence services, why has the Government cut Wirringa Baiya’s funding? Abigail slammed the poor answer received in a subsequent Take Note Debate.
Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (12:38): My question is directed to the Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women. Given that the New South Wales Women's Alliance's Safe State platform recommended that an additional $4 million per year in funding is required for the Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women's Legal Centre to ensure that no woman is turned away from assistance, how can the Government justify cutting funding to that centre by almost $30,000?
The Hon. BRONNIE TAYLOR (Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women) (12:38): I thank the honourable member for her question to me in my capacity as the Minister with responsibility for women. I am unsure about the particular case that she mentioned. It would concern me if there was a cut. I ask that she allow me to take the question on notice so that I can get more detail and get back to her at the earliest convenience.
In reply to Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (29 May 2019).
The Hon. BRONNIE TAYLOR (Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women)—The Minister provided the following response:
I am advised that this is a matter for the New South Wales Attorney General.
The Attorney General has advised:
No community legal centre that provides services to vulnerable clients will receive less in 2019-20, in terms of State Government and Public Purpose Fund funding, than in 2016/17, when the New South Wales Government committed to providing funding security to the sector.
Compared with 2016-17, the Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women's Legal Centre will receive over $18,000 more funding per year from 2019-20 onwards.
A record of more than $40 million is being invested in the community legal sector over the next three years.
Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (13:05): On 29 May I directed a question to the Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women about the funding cuts to Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women's Legal Centre. As I stated in that question, the NSW Women's Alliance's Safe State platform recommended that an additional $4 million per year in funding is required for Wirringa Baiya. Instead, our information from the centre is that they will lose approximately $30,000. The Hon. Bronnie Taylor took that question on notice and we received a response today from the Attorney General.
The Attorney General noted that compared with 2016 and 2017 the Women's Legal Centre will receive over $18,000 more funding. I am not quite sure why we are looking only at 2016-17, or why we would be excited about a funding increase over the core funding of $18,000 when inflation of 2 per cent would mean that the centre needs at least an additional $20,347 to stop staff cuts so that it can serve the number of women it is currently serving. As we know, that number is far less than what demand dictates. In 2018 the centre received $673,796, which was about $50,000 more than what it is getting now. When considering the specific project funding the centre has received in the past, last year it ended up with $28,225 less.
I ask the House to take note of the answer that we received and that we view it is really inadequate to deal with the number of women coming to the centre. In particular, when comparing the amount with 2016-17 figures, without taking into account inflation and increases in population, it indicates there is a funding cut, not a funding increase.