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Thursday, 19 June 2014
Page: 6808


Mr FRYDENBERG (KooyongParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister) (11:47): I thank the honourable member opposite for those questions about a very important topic. Like him, I hail from the state of Victoria, which has been rocked by tragedy in recent times, particularly as it relates to violence against women. The Jill Meagher case is the most prominent example of what is clearly unacceptable behaviour.

As I said earlier, this budget continues to strongly support funding programs to prevent violence against women. On the issue of the Office for Women and the advice that they are able to provide: that is done within the context of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. They are able to provide advice on all relevant measures in this budget. We take our advice from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

On the particular measures that we are committed to in this budget: as I said earlier, the funding for the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children remains unchanged. The funding for this plan is $104 million over the forward estimates and the budget continues funding for the Australian National Research Organisation For Women's Safety and the Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women and their Children, as well as a number of other measures including 1800Respect, the nationally funded counselling support line for women experiencing sexual assault and/or domestic violence; DV-aleRT, Domestic Violence Response Training delivered nationally by Lifeline; the Personal Safety Survey; and the National Community Attitudes Survey to Violence Against Women. The second action plan, which will include our commitment and that of the states and the territories to ongoing action, will be released mid this year.

The member opposite asked me about community legal centres and funding for those. We continue to believe that funding going forward needs to be structured in a way which does take into account the most vulnerable in our community including women at risk. We have extended the base funding under the national partnership agreement on legal assistance services by one year until 30 June 2015. Ongoing future legal assistance will be the subject of consideration, and the findings of the Productivity Commission's inquiry into access to justice arrangements and the recent review of the national partnerships agreement will also inform future decisions going forward.

In relation to Medicare Locals, the member opposite will be aware that we have increased funding for health in this budget right across the board. In fact, funding for hospitals has increased by nearly 40 per cent over the coming years. There are a lot of fallacies contained in the arguments put by those opposite. We have put more money into education than they ever did—including $1.2 billion for the Gonski proposals—and we have continued to promote funding for hospitals and front-line patient services.

I am very proud of this budget because it pays back debt, it boosts jobs growth and productivity, and it continues to provide financial support, assistance and services for those most in need.