Conaghan raises concerns about NSW domestic violence funding

COWPER MP Pat Conaghan has raised concerns about the NSW Government’s lack of funding in its recent budget for measures to address and prevent violence against women.

Mr Conaghan, who is the Federal Opposition’s Shadow Assistant Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, said he had spent the past three years consulting with dedicated family violence groups and organisations around Australia.

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He said he had seen firsthand what the right funding and resourcing could do for affected individuals and communities, and was a passionate advocate for increasing the focus on funding for prevention programs.

His comments follow the release of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research’s (BOCSAR) NSW Recorded Crime Statistics update for the March 2024 quarter.

The BOCSAR figures show the Coffs Harbour-Grafton area experienced a 70 percent increase in recorded domestic violence-related assaults over the past five years.

“The lion’s share of the funding earmarked for prevention in the 2024 NSW State Government Budget is the $38.3 million for the implementation of the Pathways to Prevention strategy,” Mr Conaghan said.

“The Minns Government’s media release states that this funding is to “develop a range of initiatives to address the drivers of domestic, family and sexual violence”.

Just $10 million was dedicated to the expansion of successful men’s behaviour change programs.

“Any increase of funding and resourcing for proven measures in the fight against domestic violence is a positive step forward, and it was pleasing to see the issue of family violence specifically listed in the recently released NSW budgetary documents.

“I absolutely applaud and appreciate the increased funding for social housing with priority given to families leaving domestic violence, as well as the crisis response funding.

“These are critical additions.

“However, the noted figures and direction of dollars is lacking in the crucial area of prevention.

“To create generational change, we need to consciously dedicate the same amount of time, energy and money to prevention as we do to the aftermath of violence.

“We cannot continue to be the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.”

Mr Conaghan said the Government must provide adequate measures that stopped women and children reaching “that dangerous precipice” to begin with.

“We must stop funding more layers of bureaucracy with ‘strategy development’ and start funding and resourcing organisations and programs that we already know to be successful,” he said.

“I was hoping to see this better reflected in the State Budget after seeing an underwhelming level of detail, focus and follow through on prevention at a Federal level.

“I think many will be left disappointed with the NSW Government’s continuation on the same path as their Federal Labor counterparts. I look forward to helping drive the prevention agenda with like minded State and Federal MPs in coming months.”

By Mike HELY

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