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Transcript of press conference: Tasmania: 24 July 2013: domestic violence against women; funding for the Forest Peace Deal; and the PNG solution



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JULIE COLLINS MP Minister for Housing and Homelessness Minister for Community Services Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development

Minister for the Status of Women Member for Franklin

TRANSCRIPT

24 July 2013

TRANSCRIPT OF PRESS CONFERENCE

E & OE

QUESTION: Can you tell us why it's so important that the $7.6 million is put into domestic violence education?

JULIE COLLINS: Because what we want to do with DV-Alert is make sure that health professionals are very well trained when it comes to recognising domestic violence and ensuring that women and children who are affected by it get support.

QUESTION: Why is it so important that our medical professionals do know about it?

JULIE COLLINS: We need to ensure that women and children and families that are affected get the support that they need. There are a range of supports available, but of course people usually go - when they're affected by domestic violence - not to the police, not to the support services, but to their local health professionals.

QUESTION: And how prevalent is domestic violence across Australia, and particularly in Tasmania?

JULIE COLLINS: Well the numbers, nationally, are around one in three women are affected by physical violence. But when it comes to the numbers of domestic violence in Australia - and Tasmania - those numbers are very difficult to come across because, as we know, many people don't report it.

QUESTION: These numbers are obviously quite alarming. Is funding like this and a response like this a good measure in sort of lowering those numbers and lowering the whole instances of domestic violence?

JULIE COLLINS: Well, of course, today we announced $7.6 million for DV-Alert. Yesterday I announced $3 million for perpetrator research. This is all part of our national

plan to reduce violence against women and their children that we're spending around $86 million on.

QUESTION: How long is this $7.6 million going to be rolled out over and how long is it anticipated to keep the program running?

JULIE COLLINS: This program started as a pilot program in 2007, which the Federal Government supported with over a million dollars. We refunded the pilot because it was so successful with $5 million for three years. What I'm announcing today is another 7.6 million for another three years of this program.

QUESTION: Obviously one of the risk factors of domestic violence is financial pressure on families. Is that something that we're seeing in Tasmania given the economic circumstances. Has there been an increase? Or can you say that? I guess, if you said the stats aren't there, it's hard to say.

JULIE COLLINS: Well, it is difficult to say, but we do know, of course, that many Tasmanians and Australians are under financial pressure. That's why we've funded financial councils right across the country. That's why, just a few weeks ago, I announced an additional 50 financial councils across the country. The Government is supporting people who are doing it tough and, of course, domestic violence and the announcement we are making today is just further evidence of that.

QUESTION: Is it acceptable that we live in a country where one in three women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime?

JULIE COLLINS: Well, of course, it's not acceptable that anybody in Australia is a victim of violence or a survivor of violence. What we need to do, as a country, is say that it's not okay, that it needs to stop and that's what our national plan, working with the states and territories, is to achieve.

QUESTION: Can we move on to some other issues? So the State Government's revealed that there are 400 projects competing for a share of the $90 million under the forest peace deal. When will the decision be made on what will be funded?

JULIE COLLINS: Well, we did announce $100 million being brought forward over four years, as part of the intergovernmental agreement on forestry. We're working through, of course, all the applications. And I think the fact that there are so many applications shows that there are many Tasmanian organisations and companies that want to create employment for Tasmanians. We're just taking our time to work through it.

QUESTION: Those proposals add up to more than $1 billion, though, of projects. Does that show that the $90 million that's left in that kitty isn't really going to go that far?

JULIE COLLINS: Well, I think what it shows is that many Tasmanians who have great ideas, want to employ Tasmanians. And, of course, the Federal Government has invested record amounts of money in Tasmania. You've seen it with the National Broadband Network rollout. You've seen it with our Better Schools. You saw it with our - building the education revolution. The Federal Government has been investing in Tasmania and will continue to do that.

QUESTION: Is the Government [indistinct], though, that there's going to be a lot of very disappointed regional groups or businesses, that sort of thing, who obviously aren't going to get their projects supported, which means that the outlook is probably going to be quite bleak for them?

JULIE COLLINS: What we want to do is support as many programs as possible. People know that when they put in an application for a fund not everybody's going to be successful. The ones that will be successful are the ones that create jobs for Tasmanians.

QUESTION: And we're hearing from the Federal Government that an announcement is imminent. Should we expect that before the election?

JULIE COLLINS: As I said, we're working through the detail. We expect to have an announcement shortly.

QUESTION: What do you think of your Government's PNG Solution on asylum seekers?

JULIE COLLINS: Well, this decision has not been easy for many members of the Australian Labor Party, but when you've got people coming into Australia and you've got people drowning, and you know the numbers are going to increase and the numbers of drownings are going to increase, you have to take action, and I support the action that's been taken.

QUESTION: A number of your Tasmanian colleagues of the Labor Party have not been quite so supportive. Does that show that the solidarity within the party isn't necessarily there on this one, and is that a concern?

JULIE COLLINS: I guess it's very easy to be pure of heart, but when people are drowning at sea, you have to take action, and that's what our Government has done. You know, it's easy to make assumptions when you're outside of the decision making and you don't know everything that's going on, and my state colleagues are entitled to their view, but I disagree with them.

QUESTION: As Minister for the Status of Women, what do you need to see to be prepared for women and children to be sent to PNG?

JULIE COLLINS: Well, of course, we want everybody who is going to PNG to be treated with dignity and respect. We want them to be safe. And that's what we'll ensure happens when they arrive in PNG.

QUESTION: Is PNG a suitable place for women and children to eventually be settled?

JULIE COLLINS: The Australian Government and the PNG Government take the safety of women, children and people going to Papua New Guinea very seriously and will be ensuring their safety.

QUESTION: And how will you be ensuring their safety?

JULIE COLLINS: We've got 50 Australian Federal Police going there with a physical presence in PNG. So we're obviously taking it very seriously and people will be transferred there and they'll be made sure it’s safe.

QUESTION: Can I just go back very quickly to the forest peace deal funding. What do you say to regional mayors who are angry about how the process has taken place?

JULIE COLLINS: Obviously regional mayors and other people in Tasmania are being consulted over quite a period of time. I know I've held several jobs forums myself. I know that our Denison candidate, Jane Austin, has held jobs forums. We're very serious about unemployment in Tasmania and about addressing some of the forestry downturn in those areas. And as I said, we're taking our time to work through the applications carefully and a decision will be made soon. Thank you.

ENDS