Nationals call for improved domestic violence measures

MEMBER for Cowper Pat Conaghan has called on the Federal Government to ramp up measures to reduce rates of domestic violence in the community.

“I know that our hearts collectively break each and every time these stories are in the spotlight, but we also know that there are women around the country living with the fear and threat of violence each and every day,” Mr Conaghan said.

“These senseless killings are not numbers that we should see climbing year on year.

“This is not a tally that we as Australians can or should accept, and to change this we must look seriously at the root cause and focus our efforts on preventing these horrific events from occurring not only for Australian women today but for our future generations to come.”

Mr Conaghan has called for improved crisis accommodation and feet-on-the-ground to assist those currently suffering from violence.

Most importantly, he said, programs dedicated to positive men’s behavioural change must be consistently delivered, not only for those men who have been flagged as offenders or potential offenders, but at a grass roots level as well, in sporting clubs, workplaces and in schools and educational institutions.

“We need to attack this issue at every possible angle and every possible stage of the cycle from youth to adulthood.”

National Cabinet met last week to address the crisis, announcing $925.2 million over five years to permanently establish the ‘Leaving Violence Program’.

Those eligible will be able to access up to $5,000 in financial support along with referral services, risk assessments and safety planning.

“The heartbreaking reality is that there is no overnight solution to violence against women and children,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said.

“Today’s announcement builds on our efforts to ensure fewer women feel trapped in a violent relationship because they don’t know if they can afford to leave.”

Mr Conaghan however believes the announced measures don’t go far enough.

“While I very much appreciate the extension of the current $5000 Escaping Violence Payments trial (to be renamed the Leaving Program), we need to face the fact that this measure is already in place.

“Promising $925 million over five years to extend it is a positive thing, but it’s not a radical change or even a large investment when broken down to annual figures.

“What is desperately required is urgent funding for new staff including those with experience in the DV field.

“I will be keeping a close eye on the Budget information released on May 14, and will continue to work collaboratively with all Members of Parliament to ensure that the necessary steps are being taken to foster meaningful change for today and generations to come.”

At a State level, the Coalition introduced the Bail Amendment (Serious Personal Violence and Electronic Monitoring) Bill 2024 in Parliament this week, however the bill was voted down.

“The Minns Labor Government and the Greens have voted against taking immediate action to strengthen the bail act to improve safety for victims of family and domestic violence,” said the Nationals Members for Clarence, Coffs Harbour and Oxley in a joint statement on Wednesday.

The legislation sought to amend the Bail Act 2013 to implement the Coalition’s proposals to strengthen bail laws by expanding the use of electronic monitoring devices to bail on serious domestic violence charges and making it more difficult for bail to be granted for serious domestic violence charges.

“These changes would have had an immediate impact,” the North Coast Nationals MPs said.

“This legislation would have made it harder for offenders to be released back out into our community, which is a great start in addressing this crisis.

“The Labor Party and the Greens must now explain to the women of NSW why they have voted against taking immediate action.”

By Andrew VIVIAN

Leave a Reply