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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 6 Hansard (8 June) . .

Page.. 1823..


Budget—family violence measures

MR HINDER: My question is to the Chief Minister and Treasurer. Chief Minister, can you outline to the Assembly what the government has announced to prevent and address family violence?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Hinder for the question. As members would be aware, the government is making an unprecedented investment to prevent and respond to family violence. We have announced a $21½ million community response package. As I said yesterday in the budget speech, every Canberran deserves to feel safe in their home.

Family violence is unacceptable. All of us need to stand up and say that enough is enough, that there is no place for family violence in our community. And that is why the government has announced its investment package to keep Canberra families safe.

The new funding includes funding for a wide range of initiatives including a full-time coordinator-general for family safety and a dedicated safer families team, extra funding for the Domestic Violence Crisis Service and the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, funding for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Legal Aid and the courts to strengthen the criminal justice response to family violence, boosting ACT Policing's capability to help victims apply for domestic violence orders, funding for an innovative residential behaviour change program for men who use or are at risk of using violence, more funding for the training of front-line staff and fast-tracked financial assistance for people who need to leave a violent relationship.

New initiatives in the safer families package are, as has been publicly discussed at some length today, funded through a levy of $30 per rateable household. Funding the package through the levy reflects the community's expectation that family violence can no longer be tolerated and shows that the community is acting together to address a community issue.

Recent reports commissioned by the territory government, and of course the Victorian royal commission, have made it clear that we need to take more action and that we need new sources of revenue to fund that action. Our community has been calling for more funding to respond to family violence, and the levy makes it clear to households that family violence prevention is a priority for the territory government and makes it clear to all households that we all have a role to play in responding to this issue but, most importantly, it locks into legislation a source of funding that will grow into the future.

I reiterate that the funding raised through this levy will be legislated and locked in for the long term. It is important to note that new programs funded by the levy are in addition to the significant funding and support the government already makes into social services to protect vulnerable Canberrans.

So it is disappointing that some opposite have described the securing of a long-term revenue source for responding to family violence as nonsense. It is unfortunate but it is, I think, time to move beyond this sort of political rhetoric, beyond business as


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