2024-2025 Federal Budget a missed opportunity for bold action

There are some solid announcements in the Federal Budget aimed at improving safety, health and economic security for women and their children. However, the 2024-2025  Budget was a missed opportunity for the Albanese Government to take bold action to address the serious crisis Australia is facing of men’s violence against women.

It is important that the National Plan to end Violence Against Women and Children guides Budget investments. The Plan, agreed to by all States and Territories, makes it clear that sustained and sufficient investment across prevention, early intervention, crisis response, and recovery and healing is necessary if we are to have a collective impact on violence against women and children, including sexual violence. Quality outcomes across these four domains will depend on a well-supported, specialist workforce.

We know government has an appetite to solve the crisis, but we are still waiting for serious investment in the National Plan. We need it to deliver safe outcomes for women and children across Australia. 

While The Centre for Women’s Safety and Wellbeing welcome’s the resolution of the new National Agreement on Social Housing and Homelessness (NASHH), which includes a targeted allocation of $1 billion for victim survivors of domestic and family violence, this is not a scaled investment to the demand that exists.

The Budget has clearly failed to deliver on sufficient and sustained funding for frontline domestic and family violence and sexual violence services. At the end of the day, we have an obligation to make sure that women and children can access the services and supports that they need, when they need them. We know that services have deficits in their small budgets to try to meet demand. Not-for-profit organisations should not be left to carry this.

At Crisis Talks organised by Commissioner Michael Cronin last week, Aboriginal leaders urged Governments to tackle systemic reforms to address safety for First Nations women and to address racism and bias in institutional responses. They also called for urgent investment into Aboriginal community-led solutions to end violence and support healing from trauma stemming from both this violence and the violence of colonialisation and ongoing practices such as child removal. It is disappointing these asks have not been met.

There also remains much to be done to ensure that migrant and refugee women are also protected. Many systemic barriers to safety and equality remain, including a visa system that makes women dependent on their sponsors and spouses, and therefore more vulnerable to men’s violence. Many migrant and refugee women also remain locked out of much-needed housing and welfare support and childcare subsidies.

We are encouraged by specific funding which aims to address gender-bias within the health system and resources to address the gaps in women’s healthcare. This includes investment in training on the insertion and removal of long-acting reversible contraceptives and to address period poverty in First Nations communities by delivering free period products. The extension of sexual and reproductive telehealth items and funding for chronic pelvic pain conditions are also welcome. 

We call on the Commonwealth Government for bold, enduring and coordinated action to build safe systems and communities for all victim survivors.

CWSW E News

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