Page 2087 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 2 August 2016

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The principle of raising money for this issue in the form of a levy, however, rather than finding money in consolidated revenue, is one that is, of course, interesting, and we have some concerns about it. Of course, using this argument, the government may seek to put in place many different household levies for many different worthy causes. However, we are in no way opposed to the government setting aside $19 million over the next four years to tackle family violence. We are pleased that the government is giving attention to this important issue.

Given that the government has chosen to raise this money through a levy, we believe it is especially important that the money is spent wisely on services that will actually help those who are in most need. In conclusion, the opposition will be supporting the bill, and we hope that the funds it raises will be used to provide meaningful prevention and support services to deal with family violence.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (12.05): The Greens will be supporting this bill, which amends the Rates Act 2004 such that a flat levy of $30 per household can be raised to fund the safer families package. The levy will raise $19.1 million over four years.

The recommendation for a hypothecated levy to fund support for domestic and family violence prevention came out of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence, which said that Victoria’s state-wide response to family violence should be dedicated funding for family violence primary prevention.

The levy is going toward good work, much of which has already begun: establishing the first full-time coordinator-general for family safety, to lead change and provide accountability across the service system; implementing a collaborative integrated approach to services through a dedicated family safety hub; authorising information sharing and collaborative practices via a new legislative framework; and developing a skilled and educated workforce, especially front-line staff, responding to the needs of adults and children experiencing family violence.

The government’s safer families package has been welcomed by the sector as a significant commitment. It is certainly a great start, and even if there are further areas that could be included in the government’s response, that does not impinge on the need for this money to be spent.

I am supportive, at this point in time, of the government collecting and allocating specific revenue. If this levy only seeks to remind us and the community of the priority of this work, I certainly support it. I think it is indicative of the focus the government must have on this area of policy and service delivery, and I hope that we continue to focus on it for many years to come, as I am sure that we will not achieve the culture change that is required in just a couple of years.

I continue to see evidence every week that we have not seen the changes in underlying attitudes to women and that we need to continue to challenge men on things that they say and do that demonstrate their disrespect for women. I remind the Assembly of a comment made by Victorian police commissioner Ken Lay. He said, “I place family

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