'PROTECT US': WBHHS employee Lee-Anne Thompson puts a question about domestic violence to Bill Shorten earlier this week.
'PROTECT US': WBHHS employee Lee-Anne Thompson puts a question about domestic violence to Bill Shorten earlier this week. Mike Knott BUN210119LEE1

Chair of Bundy DV group criticises Labor leader's vision

A LEADING service targeting domestic violence in Bundaberg has scoffed at Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's multiple plans to tackle the scourge "at the sharp end".

Edon Place chair Edwina Rowan said the organisation would have welcomed the opportunity to speak to Mr Shorten about his triage strategies against domestic violence in the region.

"It was disappointing we didn't get to meet with him," Ms Rowan said yesterday.

On his visit to Bundaberg on Monday, the Federal Labor leader said he wanted to look at strategies that wouldn't "reward perpetrators" of DV, giving the example that it's always "the woman who has to leave".

"We will invest in new programs to move the perpetrator out of the house ... we will invest in building new refuges," he told staff at Bundaberg Hospital this week.

The statement came in response to a Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service employee asking what a Shorten Government wwould do to help protect DV victims and stop the scourge of violence.

"Violence against women is unacceptable ... It's violence, not domestic violence. Simply saying where the location is shouldn't minimise the fact that it's unacceptable," Mr Shorten said.

He added that a Labor Government would enhance secure housing for women, increase legal aid funding and introduce paid DV leave, saying "sometimes you just need a day" to figure out schools, a rental, moving, etc.

"Some of our ... critics say that'll just encourage women to make leave plans, what rubbish," Mr Shorten said.

In August last year, a ruling by the Fair Work Commission was introduced across Australia allowing DV victims to take up to five days of unpaid leave.

Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare Catherine King joined Mr Shorten on his Qld Jobs Not Cuts bus tour this week.

On the visit to Bundaberg Hospital she said while local DV services were doing a good job with the resources they had, the boosting of frontline services was "very critical".

Ms Rowan yesterday told the NewsMail Edon Place already offered a perpetrator program with a high level of engagement, which was seeing positive results.

"This is one of the ways perpetrators are already being held accountable," she said.

"There is already enshrined in Queensland legislation methods for people to access ouster orders ... (and) they are being used effectively."

In the last three months of 2018, the Bundaberg Police Division recorded 120 breaches of domestic violence orders in 90 days.

With Bargara, Gin Gin, South Kolan and Childers, the number rises by another 50 breaches.

Pointing to the resources and refuges currently available in the region, Ms Rowan said Bundaberg had "very hard-working frontline support services workers" and a "very well-resourced refuge in this community".

"In my experience the majority of funding we receive is through the State Government, but we would welcome any federal funding to further strengthen our services," she said.

Ms Rowan emphasised if local services were bolstered, or if additional services were introduced, they would need to be regulated.



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