Media Release by Senator the Hon Anne Ruston

2022-23 Budget supporting women, children and vulnerable Australians

As part of our plan for a stronger future, the Morrison Government is investing $1.3 billion in new services to support women, children and vulnerable Australians as well as expanding existing programs and improving our social security safety net.

Minister for Families and Social Services and Women’s Safety Anne Ruston said the 2022-23 Budget delivers on the Government’s commitment to delivering the essential services that Australians rely on.

“Our first priority is to keep Australians safe which is why we are doubling down on our efforts to end gender based violence and to protect Australia’s children,” Minister Ruston said.

“As part of this year’s Budget, we are providing an additional $1.3 billion of funding for women’s safety initiatives to prevent, intervene, respond to family, domestic and sexual violence and to support victim-survivors recover and build a life free of violence.

“The 2022-23 Budget commitments brings our total investment to support the delivery of the next National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-2032 to an historic $2.5 billion over the first five years building on our $1.1 billion investment at the 2021-22 Budget and ongoing measures, including 1800RESPECT.

“We are also boosting services to help Australians overcome challenges and barriers to ensure all families and communities can reach their goals and aspirations.”

Measures in the 2022-23 Federal Budget include: 

  • An historic $1.3 billion women’s safety package to more than double the Commonwealth’s financial commitment to the implementation of the next National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children
    • This includes $30 million to provide national leadership on reducing the rate of child abuse and neglect and its intergenerational impacts
  • $1.5 billion to provide cost of living support to around 6 million eligible pensioners, welfare recipients, veterans and concession card holders.
  • Providing $10.5 million to build the long-term viability of the financial counselling sector
  • Providing $25 million to boost emergency relief, food relief and financial counselling services on the ground in flood affected areas 
  • $1.2 million investment to expand the ‘Autism: What next?’ website to provide more support for families in the first year after diagnosis 

Women’s safety 

Under the next National Plan, across the Australian Government we will commit $222.6 million to prevention measures including $104.4 million to increase the capacity of national primary prevention organisation Our Watch. More than $78 million will be dedicated to national communications campaigns – $32.2 million to help parents and adults talk to young people about consent and $46 million to roll out two further phases of the award winning Stop it at the Start campaign which is challenging disrespectful behaviours and attitudes.

Through early intervention measures, we are investing $328.2 million to help change the trajectory for individuals and families with high risk of perpetrating or experiencing violence. This includes $47.9 million for a new campaign aimed at boys and men and $39.7 million for frontline workforce development and training including police, legal and health professionals. A further $100 million will be provided for trauma-informed national counselling services to support victim-survivors including children impacted by family and domestic violence and behaviour change services for individuals who have or are at risk of perpetrating gendered violence. This will support about 80,000 Australians, and include new culturally sensitive services within Northern Territory communities.

$480.1 million for response activities includes $100 million for 720 new Safe Places projects across the country providing a crisis and transitional accommodation for thousands of women and their children escaping violence and $54.6 million for the Keeping Women Safe in their Homes and Safe Phones programs. The Escaping Violence Payment will be extended for a further three years through a $240 million investment that is estimated to support 37,500 victim-survivors on a demand driven basis.

We’re providing $27.8 million to extend existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services to ensure continuity of support while the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan is being finalised. Funding for the Action Plan will be allocated following consultation with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan Advisory Council, to ensure measures are community led.

The new National Plan has a specific focus on recovery providing $290.9 million in support of women and children who have experienced violence must be able to access supports, beyond the crisis response, to achieve long-term improvements in health and wellbeing. We are committing $48.7 million to provide targeted trauma-informed mental health therapies to meet the needs of victim-survivors. The funding will also assist GPs to manage the complex needs of patients experiencing family and domestic violence and help victim-survivors of family, domestic and sexual violence to navigate the health care system to get the support they need to be safe, healthy and resilient. We are also providing $87.9 million to provide a national expansion of the Lighthouse Project, which triages FDSV matters before the family court and $52.4 million to prevent victim-survivors being cross-examined by perpetrators.

Supporting Australians to keep up with cost of living pressures 

The Morrison Government will be providing a one-off, tax-free Cost of Living Payment of $250 to around 6 million eligible payment recipients and concession card holders.

The $1.5 billion commitment is targeted Australians most susceptible to rising cost of living pressures. These cost of living pressures have emerged on the back of global drivers such the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Those eligible include Age Pensioners, JobSeeker and related payment recipients, people in recipient of Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, and Carer Allowance, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and Pensioner Concession Card holders and people on certain Department of Veterans’ Affairs payments and concession cards.

Keeping Australia’s children safe and supported 

A $30 million suite of measures, included in the funding for the next National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-2032, will be dedicated to deliver outcomes under the recently released Safe and Supported: the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2021-2031. These initiatives will include an investment to create an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Supports as well as to establish a National Advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People.

The Government will also support the development of a National Child and Family Investment Strategy and targeted communication and support to improve parenting practices. Together, these measures will strengthen the effectiveness of existing investments to improve life outcomes for children and keep them safe and supported.

Building the long-term viability of the Financial Counselling Sector 

The Morrison Government is working with the financial counselling sector and industry partners from financial services, telecommunications, energy, and gambling sectors to trial a voluntary industry funding model for financial counselling from 1 July 2022 for two years that will deliver more frontline services for people in financial stress and hardship.

The Government is investing an additional $10.5 million over three years to 2024-25 to fund an evaluation of the trial and complementary initiatives to improve data collection and capability, national coordination and innovation efforts in the financial counselling sector. The trial will inform a longer-term approach for ensuring the viability of the financial counselling sector.

Additional Financial Wellbeing and Capability Support for Flood Affected Communities in NSW and Queensland

As announced on 9 March 2022, the Morrison Government is providing an additional $25 million for emergency relief, food relief and financial counselling services in response to the flooding disaster in northern NSW and Queensland. This additional funding will bolster support services available to vulnerable individuals and families in the flood affected communities, enabling them to deliver vital support where it is most needed.

Expansion of ‘Autism: What next?’ website 

$1.2 million invested to expand ‘Autism: What Next?’ a digital toolkit that helps people with autism, their families and carers navigate the diagnostic process and supports them in the first year after diagnosis. This expansion will bring together information around whole of life education, transitions through to adulthood, employment and independent living.