As Minister for Indigenous Australians, I am committed to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims and survivors of family violence and sexual assault.
That is why I announced an additional $3 million in funding for 14 Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLS) providers over the next three years, bringing the Morrison Government’s support for frontline services to $75 million from 2020-21 to 2022-23 to improve safety for women and children and provide better access to legal support.
Suggestions the Government is attempting to silence the voices of women are incorrect.
The independent evaluation of FVPLS identified a number of issues that needed to be addressed collaboratively by the sector, including reforms to the National Secretariat.
The FVPLS sector was fully engaged and consulted throughout the evaluation and in subsequent decision making.
On 13 November 2019, the National Indigenous Australian Agency (NIAA) advised FVPLS providers of the increased funding commitment and that the Government wanted to work jointly with the sector to consider alternative funding models for the National Secretariat beyond 30 June 2020.
On 5 December 2019, the Secretariat of the National FVPLS Forum indicated to the NIAA that they wouldn’t participate in that process.
On this basis, I have now decided that the Government will equally distribute the $244,000 allocation for the Secretariat across each of the 14 FVPLS providers to enable them to be directly involved in a co-design process to determine the best approach to ensure the continued role of the National Forum.
This is in addition to the increased frontline service funding already announced.