Gender Equity Victoria (GEN VIC) the peak body for gender equity, women’s health and the prevention of violence against women, congratulates the Andrews Government on its budget and the delivery of a Gender Equality Budget Statement that provides analysis on the impact of the budget on women. GEN VIC looks forward to working with the State Government on implementing the outcomes of this budget and continuing to progress gender equality in Victoria.
GEN VIC welcomes the government’s investment of an additional $8M over four years to build on the implementation of Safe and Strong, Victoria’s gender equality strategy. “It is great to see a focus on programs supporting women from diverse backgrounds in this announcement” said Kristine Olaris, GEN VIC Convenor.
GEN VIC is pleased with the continued commitment to the respectful relationships initiative, promoting respectful and equal relationships, behaviours and attitudes within schools. “Many of our member agencies are working with schools to build a whole-of-community approach to respectful relationships. It’s vital that this work is continued to promote gender equity across future generations of young people in Victoria,” said Ms Olaris.
The prevention of family violence and violence against women received a modest increase in funds of $24M over four years with the bulk of this funding directed to statewide behaviour change campaigns.
“Global evidence tells us that prevention investment needs to be at least 10 percent of the amount spent in response. While this budget offers some growth to previous commitments, we’re still not close to being at this level of funding,” said Ms Olaris. “Funding of sustained prevention programs and infrastructure that change community attitudes and address structural barriers to women’s equality is essential to ending violence against women.”
GEN VIC however applauds the funding of $13.4M for a 10-year Aboriginal Family Violence Plan. GEN VIC is committed to advocating for those who are particularly vulnerable to violence, including rural women, the LGBTI community and migrant and refugee women and hopes to see the investment in preventing violence before it occurs grow in future years.
GEN VIC also welcomes the record investment in mental health, recognising the impact of post-natal depression on mothers and the greater rates of anxiety and depression experienced by women who have experienced gender based violence.
With a growing workforce in the family violence and prevention of violence against women fields, we are also thrilled to see the investment in training and skill development, and increased funds to Building from Strength, the Victorian Government’s 10 -year Family Violence Industry Plan. GEN VIC is committed to working with government to ensure women and girls of all backgrounds have an equitable share of the opportunities in the training and skills budget allocation.
Other important commitments toward gender equality include $82M to develop or upgrade professional and community sports facilities to support women’s participation in sport, and a one-off investment of $0.5M to increase the number of women in the construction industry.
We have a positive future ahead of us and GEN VIC looks forward to working with the state government to progress gender equity in Victoria.