National search for inaugural Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Commissioner

Minister for Social Services, the Hon Amanda Rishworth MP, and Assistant Minister for Social Services and Assistant Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, the Hon Justine Elliot MP, today announced the Australian Government will undertake an open, national search for the Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Commissioner.

The Government will not be proceeding with the appointment of Ms Catherine Fitzpatrick who was due to take up this role on 1 July 2022.

The Government has committed to the establishment of a Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Commission to track progress against targets in the next National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children, review them in consultation with the sector and provide regular reports to Parliament.

“The Commissioner will be central to oversight of the next National Plan,” Assistant Minister Elliot said.

“Key functions will include acting as an advocate for victim-survivors, working with states and territories, and helping to co-ordinate key national frameworks so safety and access to services doesn’t depend on where you live.”

Minister Rishworth said that “this decision is not about Ms Fitzpatrick but about the importance of undertaking an open, competitive process, a process the Government believes is critical to the success of the inaugural Commissioner.”

“Given the importance of the Commission, and the role the Commissioner will play in holding governments to account for delivery on the National Plan, we need to make sure the Commissioner is selected through a transparent process,” Minister Rishworth said.

“I have asked my department to undertake an open, competitive process as a priority. The Commission will be established as planned on 1 July 2022 and I will announce an interim Commissioner in the near future.”

Ms Fitzpatrick will continue as a member of the National Plan Advisory Group, which will allow the Commission to continue to draw on her expertise working with business and the community sector to prevent and respond to domestic and financial abuse.