SECOND YEAR IN A ROW: GOVERNMENT FAILS EMPLOYEES ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LEAVE
People wanting access to 10 days domestic violence leave in NSW are no closer to accessing it, after the Minister responsible refused to commit to expanding the scheme for a second year in a row.
Today in Budget Estimates, the Minister for Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault refused to commit to improving DV leave for NSW public sector workers from 5 to 10 days’ paid leave, or to extending it to the private sector – despite the Fair Work Act specifically placing this responsibility on the States.
Under questioning from the NSW Labor Opposition in a Budget Estimates hearing today Minister Pru Goward tried to flick responsibility for the issue to the Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations, Dominic Perrottet. However in a similar line of questioning last year, the Treasurer said the issue was the responsibility of the Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.
When the Leader of the Legislative Council Adam Searle pushed her on any progress in the issue, the Minister admitted the Berejiklian Liberal-Nationals Government has no plans to increase paid domestic violence leave for the public sector, and no plans to extend it to the private sector.
Last year, Minister Goward said the Government “absolutely” accepted that there is a role for employers to provide women escaping domestic violence with access to DV leave for counselling and court appearances, she refused to give a clear commitment to advocate for an extension of the existing NSW entitlements, saying “this is not just an issue for me, but it applies to the entirety of the public sector”.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations Adam Searle
"The Minister has once again refused to extend domestic violence leave to ten days.
"Everyone who works for the NSW Government who needs it should have access to ten days paid leave to deal with domestic violence.
"This is not nearly good enough in the 21st century."
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Jenny Aitchison
“The Minister’s performance today begs the question: what is the point of her being the Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault if she is not accountable for key policy areas?
“Time and again the Minister tells us that she has a coordinating portfolio, but over the last eight years, it has become clear that her role is a foil to ensure the Government is not held accountable for a whole-of-government role in preventing domestic and family violence.”