Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 March 2015) . . Page.. 695 ..
(c) adjust future funding to account for indexation as well as increases in population; and
(d) continue to negotiate with States and Territories on future funding arrangements in good faith.
It is timely that the Assembly debate a resolution of this nature today. We have seen and understand all too well the tragedy and the horrific impact that domestic and family violence has on our community. It does not discriminate. It has a significant and lasting impact on all sectors. The violence claims the lives of more than 100 people every year in our country, and it causes enduring damage to many individuals within our own community. There is no greater cost, though, than when a family suffers the loss of a loved one or a child loses a parent.
The purpose of this motion today is twofold. Firstly, it restates and notes the comprehensive range of responses that, as a jurisdiction, the ACT has put in place over a prolonged period of time, across governments of both persuasions, to respond to and address the problems of family violence. It notes, for example, the ongoing funding provided to important services, such as the Domestic Violence Crisis Service and the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre. It notes the more recent commitments made by this government to fund important programs through the use of confiscated criminal assets, through the confiscated assets trust fund.
It also notes that there is significant unmet need for legal assistance in our community, particularly for those who are vulnerable and who are subject to family and domestic violence in our community. It notes that that unmet need is estimated to be around $200 million nationally, according to the most recent Productivity Commission report into the legal assistance sector. And it puts on the record this Assembly’s acknowledgement that the commonwealth has announced cuts to the legal assistance sector—the legal assistance sector that supports victims of domestic violence, including local community legal centres like the Women’s Legal Centre and the Welfare Rights and Legal Centre, now known as Canberra Community Law. It also notes that across Australia attorneys-general in every state and territory have asked the commonwealth to reconsider its cuts to the legal assistance sector.
The purpose of the motion, therefore, is to recognise that these cuts in funding, to the community legal centre in particular, are going to have a detrimental impact on those who are most vulnerable—the poor, the homeless, those with illness or disability and those who face violence in their own homes. These cuts are coming at a time when we need to redouble our efforts to respond to and address the problem of domestic violence in our community.
Family violence affects people regardless of their background, income or level of education, but we know that it is particularly women who live with domestic violence and that they are more likely to experience poverty as a result of that violence.
A report prepared by the government in 2012 on detecting disadvantage in the ACT found that the ACT has one of the highest proportions of diverse suburbs—that is,