Page 2956 - Week 08 - Thursday, 17 August 2017

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Australians, particularly young men, are more likely than older Australians to hold attitudes that are supportive of domestic violence.

The survey found young people agree with the concept of gender equality in public roles such as education and employment but they are less likely to support gender equality in the private sphere, with more than 22 per cent of young people agreeing that men should take control for decision-making in relationships while 16 per cent of older Australians felt the same way.

It is for these reasons that we continue to fund initiatives which support women and girls in the ACT, through the work of the office for women. We are committed to addressing the attitudes and behaviours which restrict their freedom and deny them the right to feel safe and have their perspectives taken seriously. The first action plan 2017-19, which Minister Berry launched in March this year, was based on extensive consultation with all directorates, the community sector and the ministerial advisory council for women, which will drive its implementation going forward.

The office for women will continue to provide direct support to thousands of women in the community who experience disadvantage or barriers to information, education and support services. This will be done through the women’s information line, which provided essential information to almost 3,000 women and linked them into relevant support services in 2016-17. The return to work program assisted another 160 women to overcome barriers to education and employment through the provision of $1,000 grants. We are committed to continuing these valuable programs in 2017-18.

Grants will also be made available to assist women and girls to realise their dreams via the young women’s enrichment program and leadership workshops. The annual ACT women’s grants program will continue to fund organisations that have developed innovative projects aimed at improving pathways for women’s participation and preventing violence against women.

The office for women will also sponsor a local woman via the Churchill Fellowship to undertake academic research into unconscious bias and barriers to gender equality in countries that have better credentials in this regard than Australia. In the past decade Australia has slipped from 31 to 46 on the World Economic Forum’s gender equality ranking. There will be ongoing acknowledgement and celebration of achievements in this area through the violence prevention awards and the ACT women’s awards. The office for women will also continue the important work of providing advice on the gender balance for ACT government board and committee appointments and providing secretariat support to the ministerial advisory council on women. There is also work being undertaken to create a more user-friendly electronic version of the women’s register to better support the representation of women on ACT boards and committees.

Of course, our commitment to addressing family and domestic violence is ongoing, and the $30 household levy we introduced last year will continue to fund the important work being undertaken by the office for the Coordinator-General for Family Safety. The ACT government will also work closely with the commonwealth government to reduce violence against women and children. Given that the

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