The Federal Government’s latest budget will do little for Indigenous women and children seeking to flee family violence, Labor MP Linda Burney says.
The government’s much-spruiked “women’s budget” includes $998.1 million over the next four years for initiatives to reduce and support victims of family, domestic and sexual violence against women and children.
Of that $26 million has been allocated over the same period to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children who ‘have experienced or are experiencing family violence.’
It’s also slated $31.6 million over five years to establish a dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survey on safety and violence.
Shadow minister for Social Services Linda Burney says the money will do little to address the “fundamental issue.”
“For women particularly in rural and regional Australia escaping family violence – usually with children in tow – there is no available social housing. There are almost no available rental properties, so it’s not about whether or not there’s more funding for support packages or frontline services. If there is nowhere for women to go to find a new home then the fundamental issue doesn’t change.”
Ms Burney was also critical of the lack of funding for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) in the budget.
“NATSILS speaks to things like deaths in custody, women’s safety in our communities, youth incarceration and the one thing that Labor has been very consistent about is calling for more funding for NATSILS.
“The Federal government doesn’t actually need a budget to do this. They could actually do it anyhow but they have chosen not to.”
The controversial Community Development Program is set to be scrapped for people living in remote communities and $111 million has been set aside in the budget to set up a new program in those regions over the next five years.
However the Cashless Debit Card will continue and is currently funded until 2023, after the government last year failed in its attempt to introduce legislation making the current trial periods permanent in a number of locations around the country.