ACT to raise Safer Families Levy to support domestic and family violence services

Dominic Giannini 1 July 2021 36
 Yvette Berry

Minister for Women Yvette Berry has announced an increase to the Safer Families Levy. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

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.

READ ALSO: Forced to sleep in cars: emergency housing crisis for domestic violence victims

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.

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36 Responses to ACT to raise Safer Families Levy to support domestic and family violence services
Ol L Ol L 9:16 am 05 Jul 21

So if you only pay this as part of your rates then the 10% of people in public housing don’t have to pay it? Sounds totally fair

James Daniels James Daniels 9:47 pm 04 Jul 21

Funding these types of activities is core business, escpecially for a government that is raking in record revenues (stamp duty collecting just as much now as it did when they supposedly started phasing it out and rates have gone through the roof in that time). This is plain lazy from a government that can't or won't get a grip on its wasteful spending of our tax dollars.

Ol L Ol L 4:52 pm 04 Jul 21

This is just another tax hike hidden by a popular subject.

Robert Chisholm Robert Chisholm 10:55 am 04 Jul 21

My question is does has anyone here received or know of anyone who has received funding from this pot. Or it it one of those magic Labour/greens funds that suddenly disappear or get used elsewhere, like light rail or something else.

Melissa Flanigan Melissa Flanigan 10:07 am 04 Jul 21

What the real question is … so with unprecedented house prices and massive stamp duty collections added to rates still rising … why couldn’t labour find this in their budget. Seriously people really think about this …. What are they doing with the funds? Sick of hearing there is another bill we have to pay for … why not use their budget on the real priorities

Julia Felton Julia Felton 9:48 pm 03 Jul 21

It isn't just $5 it is going up by $5 up to $50 a year. My concern is it is only going to women affected by DV what about the male victims. There is already a huge amount of Federal funding going into assisting female victims and nothing for male victims. Also if we are to ever reduce violence across the board governments need to invest in treating perpetrators. The majority of perpetrators were victims in younger years.

    Nicailla Churchill Nicailla Churchill 10:21 pm 03 Jul 21

    Julia Felton DFV services (1800RESPECT/DVCS for example) are available to any person experiencing violence regardless of their gender.

    Gem Killen Gem Killen 10:14 am 05 Jul 21

    In fact, $1.2m of this year's levy budget has been allocated to Room for Change, a program DVCS runs specifically for men. This is the second largest chunk of money offered from the levy and makes up almost 20% of the whole budget.

    Julia Felton Julia Felton 12:37 pm 05 Jul 21

    Gem Killen about time but this is an insignificant amount Nationally

Paul Lewis Paul Lewis 7:50 pm 03 Jul 21

While a worthy cause I question what next?

We pay rates to cover government priorities.

Perhaps next will be Levy’s for pot holes. Levy’s for mental health, school bullying programs, homelessness. Perhaps a levy for an indoor football stadium would considered.

Seems this may be a strategy to delivery unbudgeted government priorities.

Russell Nankervis Russell Nankervis 7:47 pm 03 Jul 21

More funding for such services is never a bad thing. Poor taste to be oposed to such endeavours

Sharee Schultz Sharee Schultz 6:29 pm 03 Jul 21

All these extra charges affects EVERYONE!!

Supporting DV is important, however the amount we are charged currently, should already cover this!

It doesn’t just affect home owners, it also means a potential increase of rental fees for tenants too. Landlords can not always afford to not pass on these extra charges!

Geoff Dibley Geoff Dibley 6:18 pm 03 Jul 21

It's not the $5 or the issue it is supporting. It is the incremental increase across everything that hurts, rates up, parking up (8% this week), rego, utilities etc. etc.. Then we cover it with a levy so it is harder to complain. What next .... a levy to fix potholes on roads .... AND then the services we get for this are going backwards... school results, waiting times and on

Fortress Epiphany Fortress Epiphany 6:14 pm 03 Jul 21

All this money for ever shoveled towards the poor unfortunates but, strangely, their lot never seems to improve

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 5:47 pm 03 Jul 21

A separate levy for this purpose can ultimately only be about symbolism and, to a degree, tokenism – there are other worthy and pressing things done by sub-national governments which don’t have separate levies, and which get increased funding each year, so why else do it for this?

If the ACT government wants to play this game with selected functions, it should provide ratepayers with far more detailed information about all of the things which their annual rates payments get spent on. All we have at present is a little pie chart which gives percentages for broad categories of spending, but a single A4 sheet, sent out each year with the assessment for the year, could provide much more detail within each of the major areas of spending, and a summary of spending by region or groups of suburbs. This would do much more for transparency and accountability, and public understanding of where the money goes, than the monthly “our CBR” leaflets.

    theberra theberra 7:43 am 04 Jul 21

    There are many of your comments that I don’t agree with HiddenDragon but I certainly agree about asking for more accountability, and not just the local ACT government but across all jurisdictions. The lack of transparency in the way billions of tax payer dollars are spent is appalling. Perhaps the government should also put some resources into reducing the most common causes of DV – drugs (including alcohol), gambling and mental health.

Margus von Tihemetsa Margus von Tihemetsa 5:31 pm 03 Jul 21

If you guys want to complain about rates do it somewhere else. Doing it in the this context just sounds cheap and selfish.

    Marc Edwards Marc Edwards 5:48 pm 03 Jul 21

    Margus von Tihemetsa why should rates payers foot the bill, renters don’t pay it. Why not charge the actual perpetrators the cost. It may then also work as a deterrent.

Jose Vega Jose Vega 5:17 pm 03 Jul 21

Does everybody pay it or is it once again those that pay rates and another increase in the rates..... Why not make those that cause the family violence pay...Next thing a Levy for widgets...

Woody Brenden Woody Brenden 4:48 pm 03 Jul 21

People here are really complaining about losing $5 a year in exchange for helping other people in crisis or less fortunate circumstances? That's sad.

    Ross Bryant Ross Bryant 5:00 pm 03 Jul 21

    Woody Brenden i think it should be included in the rates and taken from the existing rates without increase. Yes people should be helped.

    Zoë Clews Tibbitts Zoë Clews Tibbitts 5:11 pm 03 Jul 21

    Woody Brenden isn't it pathetic how justified some people feel in their total disregard for people, mainly women and children, in need. Because of $5 a year and their distaste for the local government.

    Geoff Dibley Geoff Dibley 7:07 pm 03 Jul 21

    Omg. No one conmenting on this thread is saying this isnt a worthy cause deserving of more money. What the issue is, is the lazy way they have chosen to fund it... ie. Slugging taxpayers again. Use the money you have abd reprioritise your spending to support this. Surely their surging stamp duty revenues from ACT property prices alone could easily cover this !

    Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 7:11 pm 03 Jul 21

    Geoff it's all Tax payers money.

Allan Wilcock Allan Wilcock 4:16 pm 03 Jul 21

This must be this high spending, miss managing governments last term. Electricity up (because of solar, how can this be) rates up and it just keeps going. We need to give them the punt. Any alternative could not be worse.

    Frank Koch Frank Koch 5:46 pm 03 Jul 21

    Allan Wilcock

    The majority of Canberrans voted them in

    Alex Thomson Alex Thomson 7:04 pm 03 Jul 21

    I dunno, we saw the alternative and decided these guys were better

    Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 7:10 pm 03 Jul 21

    lol in Canberra the Alt is the Greens.

    Russell Nankervis Russell Nankervis 7:46 pm 03 Jul 21

    The Liberals will always be worse

    Marc Edwards Marc Edwards 9:06 pm 03 Jul 21

    Alex Thomson yet you’ve been proven wrong in this Instance.

Harry Vallianos Harry Vallianos 4:09 pm 03 Jul 21

They just keep the pain coming. They should have never been voted back in.

    Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 7:10 pm 03 Jul 21

    Harry lol This is Canberra. They can't vote Barr out as they keep voting for him despite themselves (I'm not a Lib supporter)

Finagen_erection Finagen_erection 3:35 pm 03 Jul 21

Can you just hear that song, we’re all in this together?

No? Me neither.

We’ll spend millions on a light rail for the benefit of a few, and we increase levies for the benefit of all. We love our political elite. We get exactly what we deserve.

Futureproof Futureproof 2:47 pm 03 Jul 21

This tells me that the ACT is not the Utopian paradise that Barr and Co would like us to believe

James Smithurst James Smithurst 12:14 pm 03 Jul 21

Blow money on light rail, a new multicultural centre, new sports centres and more promises during the election to then take money from our back pockets via levies. What this government hasn’t been able to do is prioritise its spending.

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