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New levy to fund family violence package

By Charlotte Harper - 7 June 2016 36

Andrew Barr

Canberra residential and rural property owners will pay a Safer Families Levy of $30 per year on top of existing rates charges from July to fund a suite of family violence prevention initiatives in the territory.

The Government’s $21.42 million Safer Families package forms one of the key components of the 2016/17 ACT Budget. The Levy will contribute $19.1 million of the total cost of the program, and will be collected via the existing rates notice system.

Among the commitments is a full-time Coordinator-General for Family Safety and a dedicated family safety team to work in partnership with affected families and the community to improve outcomes. This team will come at a cost of $3.07 million.

A further $2,606,000 will be spent to strengthen integrated case management and coordinaton of services for victims of family violence.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said in his Budget speech today that family violence wasn’t just a problem for police, government or poor people. It was everyone’s problem.

“Family violence does not discriminate,” Mr Barr said.

“It is a national issue that touches the lives of Australians everywhere. In Canberra, we’ve seen our share of tragedy.

“All of us need to stand up and say enough is enough. There is no place for family violence in our community.”

He described the budget commitment of $21.4 million as unprecedented.

“Recent reports commissioned by the Territory Government, together with the Victorian Royal Commission, make it clear that we need to take more action and we need new sources of revenue to fund it.”

The Budget papers outline several other steps the Government would take through the package to prevent violence.

To enhance quality assurance and support improved decision making of child protection services, the Government will spend $2.471 million.

Funding of $770,000 will go towards training for frontline staff across Community and Emergency Services, Health and Education to support identification of family violence and early intervention.

A spend of $2 million will be designed to increase the capacity of specialist drug treatment services to deliver programs that address family violence.

There will be a $1,223,000 investment in translation and interpreting services in ACT courts/tribunals and specialist family violence services.

Other elements of the package include: a brokerage and bond fund to assist victims seeking to escape family violence with immediate expenses ($315,000); increased funding for the Domestic Violence Crisis Service and the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre ($1,246,000); a residential behaviour change program for men who use or are at risk of using violence ($964,000); funding to allow ACT Policing to better assist victims in applying for Domestic Violence Orders; $1,363,000 for the Director of Public Prosecutions to strengthen criminal justice responses to alleged perpetrators of family violence; $1,214,000 for Legal Aid to improve family violence victims’ access to legal services; and $20,000 for the Tara Costigan Foundation to assist in the establishment of the Tara’s Angels Service to support victims rebuild their lives.

The ACT Attorney-General will also direct $850,000 worth of proceeds of crime monies from the Confiscated Assets Trust Fund towards initiatives assisting indigenous families experiencing family violence.

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36 Responses to
New levy to fund family violence package
bobzed57 6:29 am 08 Jun 16

I think that’ll do me. Time to move across the border to get away from these Socialists. Frying pan/fire thing I suspect, but at least I won’t be invested in Barr and his mates.

rommeldog56 11:28 pm 07 Jun 16

Mordd – IndyMedia said :

Personally I think levies for specific things are ridiculous. If you want to fund something, account for it in the budget! Family violence is not going to be fixed by a temporary levy – it’s going to need ongoing funding.

Agreed re Levies.

All the ACT Labor/Greens Govt has done by withholding some of the programmed rises in Annual Rates for 2016-17 is to give it some space to introduce these new levies on every Ratepayer – totaling up to $60pa. These levies will be separate charges to Annual Rates, but included on the Annual Rates Assessment Notices.

What will happen is when the programmed rises in Annual Rates returns in 2017-18, these new Levies will also increase (maybe in accordance with CPI – or when ever the ACT Govt wants to pump more money into DV – or something else) IN ADDITION.

So, bottom line is ACT Ratepayers will pay even more – surprise, surprise. How cynical is that.

And some contributors on here deny that the ACT Gov’t has a narrow revenue raising base…..hohoho….of course its not narrow. Its as deep as ACT Ratepayers and voters pockets allow it to be.

rommeldog56 11:12 pm 07 Jun 16

Mordd – IndyMedia said :

If it tries to collect the levy by increasing other government charges like registration or parking, homeowners are likely to be hit twice.

Well, why not ? Homeowners who already paid the full Stamp Duty when they purchased their house before this 10% avg pa increases to offset reduction in stamp duty started a few years back, are paying again for that Stamp Duty in Annual Rates rises. Sounds fair.

dungfungus 10:35 pm 07 Jun 16

I don’t suppose ACT Housing pays rates but they should still pay the levy as most DV probably occurs in public housing.
Also, some of the biggest private landlords in Canberra are the Universities so they will be paying a huge amount yet most of their tenants are single students with zero chance of being involved in “domestic” violence.

chiflean 9:53 pm 07 Jun 16

We do all know the ACT government is not collecting the taxes to pay for schools, hospitals, education – right? Spending it, yes, but not collecting it directly.

Acton 9:30 pm 07 Jun 16

pajs said :

madelini said :

“Why shouldn’t renters also pay a levy to fund DV initiatives?

So if a property is being rented, that property should pay twice? Once by the owners, once by the renters? Aren’t the renters already paying the owners to cover things like rates etc? Why should rented properties be double taxed, where is your logic in that?

What will be next will the $500 per year per person “We canned the tram” levy to pay off all the companies we’ve contracted with to build it.

If one follows your logic, then only people who own property will be taxed and people who pay rent should never be taxed because the people who own the property they live in will be paying tax on their behalf.
It is not a good outcome for renters to avoid paying for social programs like hospitals, schools, roads, domestic violence etc. That is inefficient, unfair and illogical. Just like this levy.
Think this through. Very soon the levies will be passed on to renters in the form of higher rents which will reduce affordable housing as rents skyrocket.
One must not confuse rates with levies. Rates are a tax on property owned and vary according to the property’s value. Levies are a fixed tax to pay for something the government wants to do. Rates should apply to property owners. Levies should apply to everyone.
The point is that a person who owns a house should not be targeted to fund a government program, while the person who rents a house avoids their responsibility to contribute.
If the ACT Government has applied this levy on homeowners knowing they will inevitably pass the levy onto renters then that is just cynically using home owners as defacto tax collectors.
It is a bad, bad idea.

Blen_Carmichael 8:49 pm 07 Jun 16

They’re charging us extra for this? I thought the ACT Government had plenty of cash to splash around.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/samesex-marriage-costs-the-act-more-than-800000-20141103-11g4yz.html

chiflean 8:40 pm 07 Jun 16

How do you propose that the ACT government collects such a levy from renters? Pops from house to house with cup in hand? The ACT government doesn’t collect income tax, so has no way to specifically target renters with levies. If it tries to collect the levy by increasing other government charges like registration or parking, homeowners are likely to be hit twice.

Personally I think levies for specific things are ridiculous. If you want to fund something, account for it in the budget! Family violence is not going to be fixed by a temporary levy – it’s going to need ongoing funding.

rommeldog56 8:18 pm 07 Jun 16

pajs said :

madelini said :

“Why shouldn’t renters also pay a levy to fund DV initiatives?

So if a property is being rented, that property should pay twice? Once by the owners, once by the renters? Aren’t the renters already paying the owners to cover things like rates etc? Why should rented properties be double taxed, where is your logic in that?

What will be next will the $500 per year per person “We canned the tram” levy to pay off all the companies we’ve contracted with to build it.

I would think the DV Levy will be imposed on the ratepayers/property owner (not the renters directly) though the DV Levy would be, like Annual Rates, a taxation deduction for the owner/ratepayer. In any event, Like Annual Rates, Levies such as for DV will be passed onto renters in some way, shape or form.

Mordd 7:43 pm 07 Jun 16

madelini said :

“Why shouldn’t renters also pay a levy to fund DV initiatives?

So if a property is being rented, that property should pay twice? Once by the owners, once by the renters? Aren’t the renters already paying the owners to cover things like rates etc? Why should rented properties be double taxed, where is your logic in that?

What will be next will the $500 per year per person “We canned the tram” levy to pay off all the companies we’ve contracted with to build it.

rommeldog56 7:08 pm 07 Jun 16

madelini said :

“Canberra residential and rural property owners will pay a Safer Families Levy of $30 per year on top of existing rates charges from July to fund a suite of family violence prevention initiatives in the territory.”

Why shouldn’t renters also pay a levy to fund DV initiatives?
DV is just as much a problem affecting rental households as those that are buying, or have paid off their home. If one accepts that DV is more prevalent in lower socio-economic households they are also more likely to be renting than buying. So renters should also be contributing.
So this is an unfair tax targeting home owning ratepayers simply because Barr considers them/us to be an easy and convenient revenue source.
“Family violence does not discriminate,” but Mr Barr does.
What’s next? A Climate Change levy on households? A Green Waste Bin levy? A Very Fast Tram levy? A Social Inclusion and Equality levy?

Cynical & insulting politics indeed by ACT Labor/Greens to introduce these levies while about halving the annual rates increases for 1 year only – the election year.

Next year, and each year thereafter, expect the “levies” to ratchet up every year like parking fees, whilst the Annual Rates increases every year for the next 20+ years go back to normal. No wonder they have halved the deficit !!!!

These levies are a bottomless pit of Ratepayers money for the ACT Labor/Greens Gov’t.

rommeldog56 7:02 pm 07 Jun 16

Daniel said :

Well Acton, I think you have mentioned some of the next lot of levies we can expect. Anyone else got anymore ?

Perhaps a levy to fund the m$3pa cost of the new MLAs that we so desperately want & need……a “pollies” levy ?

MERC600 6:10 pm 07 Jun 16

madelini said :

“Canberra residential and rural property owners will pay a Safer Families Levy of $30 per year on top of existing rates charges from July to fund a suite of family violence prevention initiatives in the territory.”

Why shouldn’t renters also pay a levy to fund DV initiatives?
DV is just as much a problem affecting rental households as those that are buying, or have paid off their home. If one accepts that DV is more prevalent in lower socio-economic households they are also more likely to be renting than buying. So renters should also be contributing.
So this is an unfair tax targeting home owning ratepayers simply because Barr considers them/us to be an easy and convenient revenue source.
“Family violence does not discriminate,” but Mr Barr does.
What’s next? A Climate Change levy on households? A Green Waste Bin levy? A Very Fast Tram levy? A Social Inclusion and Equality levy?

Well Acton, I think you have mentioned some of the next lot of levies we can expect.
Anyone else got anymore ?

Acton 4:28 pm 07 Jun 16

“Canberra residential and rural property owners will pay a Safer Families Levy of $30 per year on top of existing rates charges from July to fund a suite of family violence prevention initiatives in the territory.”

Why shouldn’t renters also pay a levy to fund DV initiatives?
DV is just as much a problem affecting rental households as those that are buying, or have paid off their home. If one accepts that DV is more prevalent in lower socio-economic households they are also more likely to be renting than buying. So renters should also be contributing.
So this is an unfair tax targeting home owning ratepayers simply because Barr considers them/us to be an easy and convenient revenue source.
“Family violence does not discriminate,” but Mr Barr does.
What’s next? A Climate Change levy on households? A Green Waste Bin levy? A Very Fast Tram levy? A Social Inclusion and Equality levy?

gooterz 4:06 pm 07 Jun 16

“a residential behaviour change program for me who use or at risk of using violence ”
Hopefully you get help before you do something Charlotte.

$30 per year at $19.1 million is 600,000 rates bills. Seems every week there is a new tax or levy.

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