The ACT’s Safer Families Levy will increase by $5-a-year over the next four years, bringing the levy up to $50 a household in 2024/25.
The increase will raise an additional $8.8 million for domestic and family violence services in the ACT as the government tries to increase its focus on sexual assault prevention.
Minister for Women Yvette Berry said frontline services will be prioritised by the additional funding pool.
“Rates of domestic and family violence, and the growing national conversation about sexual assault, have strengthened Canberrans’ calls for action and the ACT Government is responding accordingly,” Ms Berry said.
“These are issues that have touched people from all walks of life in our community.
“Together, we can tackle these challenges by supporting victim-survivors and the services making a difference in their lives.”
The Health Justice Partnerships program, which provides lawyers across Legal Aid and Women’s Legal Centre to help women presenting in health and hospital settings, will receive $4.1 million over four years courtesy of the levy increase.
Canberra Rape Crisis Centre and the Domestic Violence Crisis Centre will receive a combined total of $2.2 million over the same period.
There will also be $1.5 million for the government’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program; $1.4 million for the Safer Families Collaboration Program, which consists of two full-time staff at DVCS; $817,000 for a private rental assistance program to assist people experiencing domestic and family violence; and $790,000 to design domestic and family violence responses for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr also announced additional funding for community organisations, including community legal services, disability advocacy organisations, mental health programs, and vulnerable students and their families.
Canberra Community Law will also be funded. It called on the ACT Government to help support its services with $500,000 in the upcoming Territory budget.
CCL said it would have had to reduce its capacity by 20 per cent – or 170 vulnerable Canberrans – from 1 July without a continuation of its COVID-funding.
“These programs and organisations contribute to what makes Canberra a great place to live and ensure that all Canberrans have the support they need,” Mr Barr said.
The last ACT budget projected the levy would raise $20.6 million over the next four years.
The full details of the increased levy and the ACT Government’s spending under the Safer Families package will be provided when the ACT Budget is delivered on 31 August 2021.