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Monday, 23 May 2011
Page: 4032

Mr LAMING ( Bowman ) ( 13:45 ): Domestic violence, whether it is psychological, emotional or physical, is a scourge on society. In last three or four years the national awareness week for domestic violence has fallen away completely and, worse, in the most recent budget by the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, a very paltry $8.5 million over four years was committed to helping practitioners more effectively identify domestic violence and successfully refer cases to referral services.

I ask: what referral services? The Women ' s Legal Service in Brisbane sees 4,000 people a year and deals with 5,000 through their helpline but turns away 16,000 women and children every year. That is evidence that we are underinvesting in domestic violence services. We need to do more, yet what does this Treasurer do? He cuts $12.2 million through efficiency savings. What kind of Treasurer moves domestic violence services referral points from the Department of Health and Ageing to the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and then calls it an efficiency saving? It is $12.2 million that we need to invest back into domestic violence services but we will not because this government cannot run its budget. This government keeps running budget deficits and simply cannot look after the most vulnerable in society.

We had a national awareness program that fell away four years ago. This government should step up and do more but they have not. We know, regardless of socioeconomics, that domestic violence—as we have seen in newspaper headlines and through other media—results in some appalling stories. Together we can do more, but it does not start by finding efficiency savings through the 2011-12 budget.