30th May 2024
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne

Rachel PAYNE (South-Eastern Metropolitan): My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence and relates to gendered violence staff. These staff do incredibly important work on the front lines of our domestic and family violence crisis in our state. It is without question that these roles must be well staffed and well paid. That said, last year the federal government announced it would provide $169 million over four years to fund 500 new frontline workers to assist those with experienced family, domestic or sexual violence. This commitment recognises that violence against women is a national crisis and must be addressed as a matter of urgency. In this arrangement, the states and territories are responsible for ensuring workers are hired. The national target is 352 positions filled by 30 June. There are concerns that this target will not be met. As of the start of this month only 30 of these positions have been filled. The Victorian government has refused to disclose how many staff it has employed so far and how many it is committed to hiring by 30 June. If other, more transparent, jurisdictions are anything to go by, the target of 352 positions filled by 30 June will not be met.

Some believe that the problems with staffing reflect deeper issues. Notably, these employees are salaried with no benefits. Superannuation, holiday leave, computers and cars are not provided within the funding package. This puts pressure on already underfunded services to provide extra funding for these staff. Beyond that, the salaries themselves are uncompetitive. So the action I seek is that the minister discloses how many frontline workers the Victorian government has employed so far and what its 30 June target is.

[Answer Pending]

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