SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

CATHY O’TOOLE MP

MEMBER FOR HERBERT

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

2 May 2019

LABOR TO DELIVER BETTER, SAFER TOWNSVILLE WOMEN’S CENTRE

A Shorten Labor Government will invest $2 million to enable the Women’s Centre in Townsville to build bigger, better, safer premises.

The Women’s Centre has existed for 33 years providing professional sexual assault services, women’s health services, and homelessness and domestic violence services funded by the Queensland State Government.

However, the building housing the Women’s Centre is too small, too old and unsafe, with no place to house the extra staff it needs to cater for the growing demand for its services.

Between January and November, there have been more than 1,300 assaults recorded in Townsville, with more than 600 of those committed against women.

There have also been 1,500 domestic violence orders made and 2,200 breaches of domestic violence orders.

A leaking roof, mouldy walls, unsafe flooring, exposed wires and rodent infestations are a daily reality for staff, who deliver critical support for more than 10,000 women and children in North Queensland every year.

If elected, a Shorten Labor Government will provide $2 million to the Women’s Centre. Combined with the $600,000 to $1 million raised by the Women’s Centre, and up $3 million in matching funding from the Queensland State Government, this will enable the completion of modern, safe, fit for purpose premises.

“The need for the Women’s Centre has never been greater, with more than 50,000 women seeking assistance since 2011,” Member for Herbert Cathy O’Toole said today.

“Townsville has one of the highest rates of sexual assault in Queensland. I’m delighted Labor is able to recognise the essential service the Women’s Centre provides to our community, and finally give it the safe, decent home it needs.”

The larger and safer premises will enable police to interview sexual assault victims, provide services to men who are sexual assault victims and provide more space to other services to use the premises to increase women’s access to those services.

These could include a nurse practitioner, GP, housing, shelter and mental health services.

“Community services like the Women’s Centre are essential to keeping our communities safe, and caring for those who have been the victims of sexual assault and violence,” Labor Leader in the Senate Penny Wong said in Townsville today.

“The people of Townsville recognise the value of this service.
“Labor Member for Herbert Cathy O’Toole has fought hard for this commitment and now she’s delivered for the people of Townsville.”

This commitment follows Labor’s announcement that we will more than double investment in the Fourth Action Plan to prevent and respond to family violence, delivering record Commonwealth funding of over $660 million.

This election is a choice between Labor’s plan for better funding for essential community services, or bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town under the Liberals.

After six years of Liberal cuts and chaos, our united Labor team is ready.

Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.