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Prevention of Family Violence – Federal Funding

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 7 June 2023

Tags: State Budget, Family Violence

p>Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, the federal government allocated $169.4 million nationally to the Department of Social Services for 500 new frontline services. Has that money been allocated in Tasmania now?

Ms PALMER - That federal government funding of those 500 positions is currently being rolled out.

Dr WOODRUFF - It has taken such a long time.

Ms PALMER - It has taken such a long time.

Dr WOODRUFF - Excuse me for interrupting but I had a long conversation in Gender Equality about this in early March. It is desperate. I do not understand. It is meant to be imminent, but we really want to know how many will come to Tasmania. There are 500. They are meant to be new frontline service organisations. It is not meant to squirreled away into all of the other good work that goes on in family violence. There are many things it could go to. There is a lot of need, but it is meant to go to the highest need and it ought to be, I understand, to half the workers to regional rural and remote areas which is basically, all of Tasmania except the two cities. Where is that up to and can you please outline how you are consulting to determine where it will go in Tasmania, in the hope we will get some of that money?

Ms PALMER - We have been engaging with the federal government and we have secured additional funding to enable the establishment of up to 24.6 FTE new frontline and community sector positions over four years from 2023 24 in Tasmania, to support women and children experiencing family, domestic and sexual violence. These positions might include for example; case managers in shelters, financial counsellors and community organisations and support workers in specialist women's services.

An important element of the proposed agreement is a number of these positions to be established, as you say, in our rural and regional areas. I signed the extension of the funding agreement in May 2023 on behalf of Government. Funding will be provided by the Australian government to us in mid 2023.

The extension of the national partnership agreement also provides for the allocation of funding towards innovative perpetrator programs. My colleague, the Attorney General, is working with her department to develop a series of initiatives to distribute this funding.

What Tasmania is eligible for is to receive $11.774 million in funding under this extension. I can break that down for you. •

$8 649 000 towards new frontline and community sector workers. •

$3.125 million towards innovative perpetrator responses.

The national plan does set out actions across the four domains, as you would be aware.

I have a further breakdown here as well.

Dr WOODRUFF - How many of those 24.6 new FTEs are going to be new workers in the services?

Ms PALMER - I have it here for you. CALD, number or proportion of full time workers will be 0.6.

Dr WOODRUFF - What do you mean CALD?

Ms PALMER - Cultural and linguistically diverse.

Dr WOODRUFF - Okay; 0.6 CALD.

Ms PALMER - Yes.

Dr WOODRUFF - That is 0.6 FTE?

Ms PALMER - Yes. People with disabilities - you're looking at 0.5, so number of proportion of fulltime workers - 0.5 FTE. LGBTIQ+ communities - 0.3 FTE, and Tasmanian Aboriginal people - 2.2 FTE.

Dr WOODRUFF - Okay. Where do all the other 24.6 - and that only makes 3.6.

Ms PALMER - The other positions are not actually tied to a specific group, they could be used anywhere across that spectrum. What I have just read out to you are some of those specific areas of focus.

Dr WOODRUFF - The majority though will not be into those groups, the 21 new FTEs by your numbers will go elsewhere.

Ms PALMER - Yes.

Dr WOODRUFF - How many are funded not to innovative perpetrator response programs, but new workers for frontline family violence service work in the 11.74?

Ms PALMER - To this level of detail, I will refer to Ms Hurworth.

Ms HURWORTH - For clarity, they are completely separate things. The 24.6 is one program stream of funding; perpetrator programs are completely separate.


Ms HURWORTH - There is no crossover between them.

The other thing I want to clarify is the numbers the minister read out are the base requirements in the national agreement we need to meet. We could decide to have 15 as a minimum to meet the national agreement.

The other thing I want to note is Tasmania was the first to sign the national agreement. All other states and territories are still negotiating, because there was a technicality in the Commonwealth's estimation of the SCHADS Award funding.

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, the $11.74 million is for the 24.6 and then within that, what you just read out before, that 3.6 FTE is minimum to those areas.

The other question I asked was what is the criteria for distributing those 24.6 FTEs? You got it from the Commonwealth, but how are you deciding where they are going to go?

Ms HURWORTH - We are just in the process of consulting with the sector on how to allocate that funding. The things we are looking at are the allocation of funds across the state's three regions which you alluded to earlier, the proportional allocation of funds to cover service provision to specific groups, the anticipation there will be a 50/50 split of worker allocations between qualified practitioners and trainees - that is a requirement of the agreement, and of course, we are also looking at things like waitlist data, different service models and the capacity of services to bring on more staff themselves at this point in time and then factoring in award schedules and trainee pathways which, as I mentioned, we have had to do some weeding out of them from the miscalculation by the Commonwealth in the SCADs Award

Dr WOODRUFF - That is really great; I am glad it's here. It is really important because the intention of that money was for community-based specialist frontline services. It was not for, for example, Relationships Australia or maybe the Australian Childhood Foundation.

Ms PALMER - It is for the -

Dr WOODRUFF - It was for the gender equalities; it is for the people working directly with family violence. I hope that is obvious - because everyone wants a bit more, everyone needs more money, but that is specifically what that money was meant to be for.

Ms PALMER - That has been clearly stated by the federal government, by the Commonwealth and certainly what we are working to - the guidelines that they have set out for that. As I said before, very clearly, we are looking at new frontline and community sector positions.

Dr WOODRUFF - Great. Final question. You said that the money will flow in mid 2023; when do you expect those positions, contracts and discussions to be finalised so that people can put ads in the paper to fill the positions?

Ms HURWORTH - The model that we would be working off is that we would fund organisations and they would undertake that recruitment themselves, so it would be entirely dependent on whatever their schedule is. There are workforce shortages in this area across the country.

Dr WOODRUFF - Of course it is just organisations that are doing this work already, it is not to create new jobs. Thank you, that's really great to hear that.