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NSW budget –women’s refuges get little more assistance

SOS Women’s Services welcome the funding for domestic violence in this year’s budget which will see many valuable programs able to continue. However the only new additional funding for women’s refuges is $2.8 million.

This is at a time when domestic violence is on the national agenda like never before and has been described as an epidemic.

Thankfully, the NSW Government had done a lot to fix some of the problems which arose out of its major reforms to the sector, and deserves to be congratulated for new initiatives such as the Police High Risk Offender Teams and the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme.

But the Victorian Government recently committed $572 million over two years just to begin implementing the most urgent recommendations from its Royal Commission into Family Violence. And that’s just the first step.

The NSW Budget has $80 million to encourage people to use bicycles more. With up to two women being killed each week in domestic violence incidents across Australia, we need a transformative investment like Victoria.

A Coalition of women and women’s services protecting the rights of women and children in NSW. For more info visit www.soswomensservices.com

TAFE, hospitals, schools, children’s services take hit in NSW budget

The NSW Opposition has criticized the just announced state budget for hoarding the proceeds of a property stamp-duty bonanza as “surplus” which shorting patients, students, women’s and children’s services and aspiring homeowners.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley has accused Premier Mike Baird and Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian of ignoring a raft of health, education and housing affordability priorities while setting aside over $8 billion in surplus taxes over the next four years,

Destruction of the TAFE system is continuing charges the Opposition, citing underfunding for TAFE during 2015-16 of $313 million. Since 2012, the Liberal-Nationals have sacked 5,200 teachers and support staff. Forecast enrolments are down by more than 120,000 a year compared to 2012.

Is being “debt –free” better than properly funding services and educating the citizens of the future?  This is the question raised here.

Some other examples cited by the Opposition:

  • Hospital upgrades delayed or allocated token amounts
  • Elective surgery waiting lists still increasing. There were 74,351 patients on the elective waiting list in March 2016, up from 66,000 in March 2011.
  • More money allocated for prisons than new classrooms
  • School maintenance backlogs have blown out since 2011 with 2016 budget allocation unlikely to meet the growing demand
  • Child protective services subjected to another staffing cut
  • No measures to assist housing affordability for people on median incomes. Example of essential services providers like nurses, teachers, police finding it impossible to find housing in big city Australia. First home owners’ grant cut.

The context is a record $8.9 billion in transfer duties delivered to the budget in 2015-16 on the back of Sydney and state’s property boom. That trend is forecast to continue with stamp duty receipts of over $37 billion over the next four years (2016-17 amount is $8.8 billion).

“It never gets as good as this in terms of property taxes – while we have the revenue let’s invest in schools and hospitals,” said Foley.

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