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Monday, 7 November 2011
Page: 8447

Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

(Question No. 1232)


Senator Rhiannon asked the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, upon notice , on 21 September 2011:

(1) What action has the department taken to ensure the Cawarra Women's and Children's Refuge Aboriginal Corporation in Penrith, Sydney, is able to continue providing culturally appropriate support services to Aboriginal women and children.

(2) What is the annual amount of funding provided to the corporation.

(3) Have there been any funding changes in the past 5 years that threaten the ability of the corporation to continue providing services to Aboriginal women and children; if so, what are those changes.

(4) Have there been any been any changes in regulations that threaten the ability of the corporation to continue; if so, what are those changes.

(5) Is the department aware that the corporation has been defunded by the New South Wales Government; if so, what are the reasons for such defunding.

(6) What action has the department taken to ensure the corporation:

   (a) has had access to due process to clarify the validity of any identified problems in their operations and can details be provided of that due process and any resulting outcomes; and

   (b) has been able to access help to address such identified problems and can details be provided of that help.

(7) Will the Minister commit to consulting with the corporation about:

   (a) how it can help fulfil the Government's Indigenous Family Safety Agenda by ensuring that additional supports are available for families in times of need or heightened vulnerability;

   (b) the advice and support available to it from the department; and

   (c) any funding options available to it to continue providing services to Indigenous women and children in the western suburbs area of Sydney.


Senator Arbib: The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator ' s question:

(1) to (3) These questions are best directed to the New South Wales (NSW) Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister for Women, the Hon Pru Goward MP.

(4) It is unclear which regulations Senator Rhiannon is referring to, however, in terms of registration the Cawarra Women's Refuge Aboriginal Corporation (ICN 2807) was incorporated on 2 September 1996 under the former Aboriginal Councils and Associations Act 1976. On 1 July 2007, it became a "transitional corporation" registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (the CATSI Act). The Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) has confirmed the corporation is still registered and that it has lodged all necessary annual reports. The corporation currently has 103 members and five directors (Ruth Walker, Massie Cavanagh, Joann Delaney, Maria Wilson and Selina Griffin).

Based on records lodged with ORIC by the Cawarra Women's and Children's Refuge Aboriginal Corporation it was funded up to or about 30 June 2008 by the NSW Department of Community Services to manage and operate a women's refuge.

(5) and (6) (a) (b) The questions are best directed to the NSW Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister for Women, the Hon Pru Goward MP.

(7) (a) The Government has provided more than $8 million in 2011-12 under the Indigenous Family Safety funding stream to address Indigenous family violence.

   (b) The Department is open to consulting with relevant organisations.

   (c) When opportunities to apply for funding become available, they will be advertised widely in the press and on the Department's website at www.fahcsia.gov.au.