Safe and Equal welcomes the Albanese government’s first budget and acknowledges the tough financial circumstances in which it is being delivered.
This budget is an important first step towards implementing the new National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children. The Federal Government has committed $1.7 billion over 6 years towards women’s safety initiatives, including:
- $1.3B dedicated to response initiatives, including $39.6M to meet increased demand for the Escaping Violence Payment and $12.6M for a pilot program to assist victim survivors of family violence on temporary visas
- $169.4M over 4 years from 2022-23 (and $55.4M per year ongoing) to provide an additional 500 frontline family violence workers across Australia
- $13.4M over 4 years from 2022-23 to develop a 10-year National Housing and Homelessness Plan
- The establishment of a $10B Housing Australia Future Fund, including $100M for crisis and transitional housing options for women and children fleeing violence
- $225.2M in funding for primary prevention activities focused on stopping violence family and gendered violence from occurring in the first place
While a much-needed increase in investment into family violence response and prevention initiatives is welcomed, we know that what’s been announced in this budget is not enough to achieve the agenda of the National Plan.
Critical gaps remain in funding for areas of frontline service delivery and housing, which must be addressed if we are to achieve the National Plan’s ambitious goal of eliminating family violence in a generation.
This includes increasing investment into meaningfully quantifying what funding is needed to deliver sustainable services and meet national demand for family violence support. It also involves implementing mechanisms to ensure funding provided enables long-term employment contracts for family violence workers and pay at a level commensurate with the specialist skills and qualifications required.
We need more sophisticated data collection and analysis, to build a whole of system view and move towards measuring and improving outcomes for survivors.
Additional investment is also critical to meet the crisis and long-term housing needs of all victim survivors, including women on temporary visas and other priority cohorts who suffer some of the worst housing outcomes.
This budget is a good starting point for investment into long-term primary prevention efforts. Achieving generational change to prevent and ultimately end family and gender-based violence is going require investment from all levels of government to match the scope and scale of work – and the expertise needed to do this over time.
Eliminating this violence is possible, and it will take sustained and purposeful investment across a range of initiatives. The first Action Plan associated with the new National Plan, and the next Federal Budget in May will provide ample opportunities to address these gaps and deliver additional funding to achieve safe and fair service responses for all victim survivors of family and gender-based violence.
We look forward to continuing to work with the Federal Government to develop the action plans and deliver on the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children.