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Women – Women's Strategy Outcomes

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 8 June 2022

Tags: Women

Dr WOODRUFF - Thank you, Chair. Congratulations on being the minister. Cassy O'Connor, who is the portfolio holder, and I from the Greens will be very pleased to work together with you to find as many productive outcomes as we can for women in Tasmania.

I have a question about the Tasmanian Women's Strategy 2018-21 which finished last year. I want to find out what the Government has done under parts of that strategy. Page 28 is about health and wellbeing and refers to providing counselling and support services to women and girls.

Before I ask the question, I will put it in context. The strategy did a consultation and 1391 Tasmanian women participated to provide some information that is in the strategy. That is nearly five years old now, so it goes to show that what we are talking about in this strategy is very out of date. Since then, we've had bush fires in Tasmania; bush fires on the mainland; worsening climate crisis; a big rise in eating disorders and mental health; anxiety in young women; the COVID-19 pandemic; workplace insecurity; and the cost of living. .

Could you please talk about what the Government has done in regard to additional services that have been made available, and how much money was spent to provide counselling and support services to women and girls, under the life of that strategy?

Ms PALMER - Certainly. I will refer that question to Ms Kent; but I agree with you, five years is a very long time and so much has changed. We certainly need to be looking at what is impacting women today and probably need to have strategies with a little shorter life span than five years moving into the future.

Ms KENT - I will quickly try to find the last progress report. Subsequent to the strategy as well, there were three action plans that were developed under the previous strategy, one of which was the health and wellbeing for women action plan 2020-23 and there was more detail in that. With regard to that counselling and support, I may need a little time to get an update on that as I do not have it right to hand. It is health-related information.

Dr WOODRUFF - Would you like me to take that as a question on notice?

Ms KENT - Yes; but I may be able to answer it during the session if I can get someone to clarify some of that detail while we are answering other questions. It will be information that we would have from Health, so I do not have it right now.

Dr WOODRUFF - That is fine.

Ms PALMER - Hopefully we can give you that answer before the end of the session.

Dr WOODRUFF - Thank you, Chair. Minister, on the Government's Financial Security for Women Action Plan 2018-21, which is now completed, action 1.5 was to -

assist women who have lost their job due to redundancy of business closure, to transition into a new career through the Rapid Response Skills initiative.

Can you please tell me how many women accessed that scheme in the period 2018-21, and how many of those women were successful in transitioning to a new role or career?

Ms PALMER - Certainly, I will refer that.

Ms KENT - That initiative has been developed through Skills Tasmania, so we can get that information through them. I will take that on notice and we might be able to get the answer while we are in this session today.

Dr WOODRUFF - Are you happy with that, minister?

Ms PALMER - I am.

Dr WOODRUFF - Another question in relation to that Financial Security for Women Action Plan - action 4.4, which is to -

Support women on low incomes to start to grow their own small business through the Small Business No Interest Loans Scheme; and

Work with the No Interest Loans Scheme and community organisations to assist Aboriginal, migrant women, and women with disability to start their own small business. (Action 4.5)

Can you please tell me how many women accessed these loan schemes across the action plan period, 2018-21? How much money, on average, did participants borrow through the scheme, and how much money was loaned overall in the three-year period?

Ms PALMER - My advice is that that is also Skills Tas, so could we take that question on notice and get that information for you?