KIM LANDERS: There's been another step towards the creation of a new ten-year national plan to tackle domestic and family violence. The Albanese Government has released a long awaited report from researchers at Monash University, which canvasses the views of nearly 500 experts and could guide the development of the plan. Amanda Rishworth is the Federal Minister for Social Services.
Minister, you've previously said that the former government didn't get enough work done on a new national plan. What do you think is lacking?
AMANDA RISHWORTH: Well , firstly, the current national plan ended on 30 June. While there's no immediate drop off in services, the former government had 10 years to know when that deadline is. So, as one of my first priorities, I want to make sure that we make progress on the next national plan that will last for ten years, and get something in place. I want to get it right but, with a sense of urgency, get something in place so that states and territories and the Commonwealth are all working in the same direction.
KIM LANDERS: You've released a report that will help guide this process. The researchers who did the report say that they were repeatedly told that a range of different targets or measures need to be developed. So, for example, do you support measuring if there's been a reduction in the number of women dying? A reduction in sexual assaults?
AMANDA RISHWORTH: I want to work with my state and territory colleagues. This is a whole of government and state and territory- state and territories are part of that. I want to work with them to make sure that we have a robust plan; that we are, as governments, accountable in the plan, and I will work with them. That’s why we’re having-
KIM LANDERS: [Interrupts] But I'm just trying to make sure that, if you're talking about accountability and robustness, that there are some actual measures and targets in the new plan.
AMANDA RISHWORTH: We want to make sure that governments are accountable. As I said, we won't get anywhere if we don't sign off between states and territories and the Commonwealth. So, I want to make sure that we are working towards that. But I would say, I have released the stakeholder consultation report. This was resisted by the former government, they had no intention of releasing it. I think it's important, as we move towards finalising the plan, that we have a transparent process and people can all comment and be part of it.
KIM LANDERS: So, will that include specific targets?
AMANDA RISHWORTH: I'm going to work with my states and territories on what targets - as the service deliverers - what targets they might want to see included. I will be certainly working with them to make sure it's as robust as possible.
KIM LANDERS: Let's talk money. One advocate says that the Albanese Government needs to commit $1 billion a year towards filling, what she calls. black spots in support programs. How much money is going to be set aside in the October budget?
AMANDA RISHWORTH: Look, firstly I would say that some of the first actions our government has actually taken is to- is in the area of family and domestic violence. We’ve signalled one of the first things we're going to do, as a legislative program, is to put in ten days’ family and domestic violence leave. This is really important to ensure that women stay connected with the workplace and they don't lose their jobs when they’re leaving violent circumstances.
I've also, as a matter of priority, looked at how we can improve the escaping domestic violence payment - that payment hasn't been working for people. But this is why a plan is so important, to make sure that every area is covered from prevention all the way through to recovery. And so-
KIM LANDERS: [Interrupts] So, are we expecting a big sort of figure in the upcoming budget?
AMANDA RISHWORTH: I'll be working with my colleagues about making sure that we do tackle this issue. I think our actions have already shown. I mean, I've been in the job six weeks now, and I've made this one of my first priorities and our government has as well. So, I think you can see from the actions we've taken, we take this very seriously.
KIM LANDERS: The previous plan, as you said, has expired, so you need to get cracking. Do you think that there could be a final agreement when you meet with state and territory ministers late next week?
AMANDA RISHWORTH: I think this is a really first important step for our government - it's the first meeting that we've had with states and territories. And so we will be having a serious discussion with this. It will outline the steps of how we finalise the plan and get cracking on the next ten years which will, indeed, need careful planning and careful service delivery.
KIM LANDERS: Minister, thank you very much for speaking with AM.
AMANDA RISHWORTH: Thank you.
KIM LANDERS: The Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth.