THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
SENATOR JAN MCLUCAS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR MENTAL HEALTH
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS
SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND
SENATOR CLAIRE MOORE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CARERS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNITIES
SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND
BAND AID FIX BY GOVERNMENT TO RESTORE CRITICAL SERVICES FOR WOMEN EXPERIENCING FAMILY VIOLENCE
The Abbott Government's belated, characteristically chaotic decision to temporarily restore essential support services that support women experiencing family violence has only been made following damning feedback from emergency relief providers for victims of family violence.
"Emergency relief providers had already started telling workers and volunteers they would lose their jobs before the Government made its five minutes to midnight announcement to recommit to existing funding.
"With twenty five per cent of people seeking homelessness services being women and children fleeing domestic and family violence, existing funding should have been renewed months ago - but the Government let the uncertainty continue," Shadow Minister for Women Senator Claire Moore said.
The Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness Senator Jan McLucas said today's announcement hides the fact that the Abbott Government has already ripped $44 million away from organisations directly supporting the homeless and cut $270 million from a range of community services that assist our most vulnerable people including emergency assistance.
"This is funding which would have provided much needed homes for women and children escaping family violence and for people who otherwise could not put a roof over their heads at night.
"The reality is there is no plan by the Government to end homelessness and no policy other than slashing funding for much-needed services. It is clear the Government would rather push the responsibility, and the costs, for housing and homelessness onto the States and Territories.
"The Abbott Government is putting the bottom line over and above the lives and welfare of Australians, most particularly those Australians who are the most vulnerable or marginalised in society," Senator McLucas said.
Last week the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee tabled a report ahead of the 2015 Federal Budget in an urgent effort to force the Abbott government to restore funding cuts to critical services.
This includes the Government's $15 million cut from Legal Aid and $43 million from Community Legal Centres and Community Legal Centres and Family Violence Prevention Legal Services have no funding certainty beyond June.
Further, earlier this month, State and Territory Attorneys General from across Australia, Liberal and Labor united to condemn the Government's cuts to legal assistance.
Cuts to Community Legal Centres mean the assistance available to families experiencing domestic violence has already been affected.
Labor has called on the Prime Minister to hold a National Crisis Summit on Family Violence and announced a $70 million interim package of measures to make sure women get the legal support they need and have somewhere safe to go. This includes:
- Almost $50 million to legal services, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services to ensure women suffering from family violence have appropriate legal support;
- Initial investment of $15 million in Safe at Home grants to help people affected by family violence stay safe in their own home; and
- An investment of $8 million in perpetrator interaction mapping.
Labor is committed to considering a range of policy approaches to prevent family violence and recognise the need for national leadership.
MONDAY, 23 MARCH 2015
MEDIA CONTACTS: ANNIE WILLIAMS (DREYFUS) 0428 040 522
MELINDA EADES (McLUCAS) 0408 743 457
MEREDITH HORNE (MOORE) 0416 278 786