The NSW Labor Opposition has rejected excuses from the Premier that she and her office did not know that three frontline women's domestic violence services had their funding slashed in Tuesday’s budget.
The Minister for Prevention of Domestic Violence and Attorney General today committed to reverse the Berejiklian Government’s funding cuts to the Sydney Women’s Counselling Service, Penrith Women’s Health Centre and Cumberland Women’s Health Centre after these cuts were brought to light by the NSW Labor Opposition.
NSW Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Jenny Aitchison MP said it was appalling that frontline women’s domestic violence services had had to rely on yet another backflip by the Government in order to get funding for the critical services they provide, which was due to run out in 11 days.
Ms Aitchison said: “It’s appalling, but unfortunately par for the course with this Government, that this has only just been brought to the attention of the Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. It’s yet another example of the shambolic, haphazard and ad hoc approach by this Government to dealing with victim-survivors of domestic violence and the front line services which help them.”
“Labor has fought side by side with the sector to reinstate and maintain this funding every year over the last four years, forcing the Government’s first backflip in 2016 when the Government first refused to re-fund it. Shamefully, since then, the Government has only approved the funding on a year-by-year basis.”
“The community is sick and tired of hearing the Liberal and National Government’s excuses about forgetting and overlooking domestic violence services. The Premier must consolidate the portfolio back into her own department to have any real chance of managing a coordinated whole of Government approach”, Ms Aitchison said.
The prevention of domestic violence has moved across four main portfolios over the last four budgets since 2016, and is generally spread across a number of portfolios making funding for the sector is very hard to track.
At the recent election Labor promised to deliver a budget and outcomes statement specifically addressing the prevention of domestic, family and sexual violence. Labor also committed to move the portfolio back in to the Department of Premier and Cabinet precisely to avoid the kind of debacle that took place today.
Ms Aitchison said: “We’ve got a real crisis in domestic, family and sexual violence, and this Government doesn’t even know what services it’s cutting funding to – it’s an absolute disgrace, and shows the heartless approach of this Government to some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”