Violence Against Women

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for the Status of Women a question about the commonwealth's violence reduction announcement.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: The Prime Minister recently announced a national plan, entitled Time for Action, to reduce violence against women and their children which lists a number of measures that it intends to undertake in conjunction with all levels of government (including state governments) and the non-government sector. The package includes $12.5 million for a new national domestic violence and sexual assault telephone and online crisis service, $26 million for primary prevention activities and research funding; and it states that it intends, with states and territories, to establish a national centre of excellence for the prevention of violence against women and also harmonise laws between jurisdictions. My questions to the minister are:

1. Is the minister aware of any additional funding for South Australia under this program, or does she expect that South Australia will be required to provide additional funding to meet its commitments?

2. Does she anticipate significant changes to our state's domestic violence laws through the COAG harmonisation process?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for State/Local Government Relations, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Government Enterprises, Minister Assisting the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Energy) (14:34): Indeed, we were delighted to receive the news from the federal budget in terms of spending on domestic violence and other matters to protect women and their families. At this time I am not aware of any additional funding being required from that federal process in relation to those projects. We have not yet seen the details of those programs. Obviously, officers are looking at the detail of that and, if there is information that is relevant, I am happy to bring it back.

In relation to domestic violence, members would be well aware that this government is seeking to review domestic violence legislation. We are looking to ensure that perpetrators are held more accountable for their actions and to provide greater support for victims. We are currently looking at a number of different elements of that legislation. Clearly, one of the things we have done is look at how it compares with other jurisdictions, and we are seeking to make it as complementary as possible.

I am not aware of any significant implications in terms of attempts to harmonise that legislation nationally in those areas we are considering at present. We are mindful that these programs or initiatives often run in parallel and, obviously, we are making sure that we keep our eye on what is happening nationally. We have a South Australian member on the National Council for women, so we are making sure we keep in the loop and harmonise and have consistent legislation in relation to violence wherever possible. However, in saying that, it is obviously important that South Australia maintains the sorts of standards that it sees fit and appropriate for the state. We are making sure that we keep that in our mind's eye, as well.