Grants to help women reach their full potential

The State Government is providing a $90,000 funding boost for community initiatives that support and empower women.

Across Western Australia, 12 organisations will receive funding under the Grants for Women program.

Grants for Women supports community initiatives that will assist women during the COVID-19 pandemic and address priority areas of women’s economic independence, safety and justice to align with the State Government’s Stronger Together: WA’s Plan for Gender Equality.

Initiatives funded under the program will contribute to women and girls reaching their full potential in all aspects of life at school, in the workplace, in retirement and in their homes and communities.

Grants of up to $5,000 were available for one-off initiatives with a duration of up to six months and grants of up to $10,000 were available for six to twelve months initiatives with a strategic focus and involve a range of partners.

Successful initiatives include:

  • a series of workshops in Carnarvon and the wider Gascoyne region for women who own a business, are looking to start a business or would like to return to the workforce;
  • a pilot program for female apprentices that looks at career sustainability, long-term financial independence and gender equality;
  • an ‘African Women’s Life Skills Project’, which will run workshops to ensure that participants can live safely and have access to legal protection;
  • a ‘Ready to Work’ project for disadvantaged migrant women, providing mentoring, education and training about employment and career pathways;
  • a ‘Money Matters for Migrant Women’ program to improve financial literacy among culturally and linguistically diverse women through practical tools and knowledge; and
  • a series of ‘micro-enterprise’ workshops in Warmun to bring community members together to learn and develop skills in business.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted existing gender inequalities and placed women at greater risk of long-term vulnerability and hardship.

“These State Government grants will help fund community initiatives that support and empower women – whether it’s through retraining, upskilling, mentoring or improving financial literacy or business skills.

“Grants for Women has a particular focus on projects that help women gain economic independence and improve their safety, and it’s encouraging to see initiatives that assist women from all over the State and all walks of life.

“A strong community is one where all members of the community can succeed, and the State Government is committed to helping women and girls reach their full potential.” said Minister for Women’s Interests Simone McGurk.

 

Ready, set, grow! Funding to bring community garden projects to life

Twelve community-based organisations from across Western Australia will have garden projects brought to life thanks to the State Government’s Community Gardens Grants Program.

Grants provided through the program support the establishment and upgrading of community gardens that enable people to participate in community life.

The Community Gardens Grants Program provides grants of up to $10,000 per project. The funding can be used on a wide range of garden-related items and services, from plants, seedlings and fertiliser to planning, design and training services.

The program has an emphasis on inclusiveness and accessibility, and community participation by individuals and organisations. A number of this year’s grants will fund projects that improve disability access to community gardens.

Grants are open to incorporated not-for-profit community organisations, local government authorities and community groups.

Projects funded in the most recent round include:

  • $6,630 for the Shire of Mundaring for raised garden beds, a water tank, tool shed, gardening tools, consumable garden items, signage and an educational workshop for the Wooroloo Connect Garden for the Community;
  • $9,500 for the Beverley Community Resource Centre to hold four garden related workshops with guest speakers and garden consumables;
  • $4707.50 for the Baldivis Community Garden Inc to design and build an accessible shade-house and install irrigation;
  • $9,977 for the Lakelands Community Garden Inc to purchase raised garden beds, shade tunnels, wheel-chair gardening tables, soils and mulches; and
  • $9,989 for the Wongan Hills Community Garden Inc to further develop an existing Community Garden with raised garden beds, picnic and bench seating, lighting and resurfacing and levelling of pathways to improve accessibility.

“Community gardening is a great way to bring people together at a local level while creating beautiful green spaces we can all enjoy.

“The State Government grants will fund projects that allow organisations to take the first steps to establish a community garden or help existing gardens to flourish.

“Everybody should have the opportunity to enjoy these green spaces and it’s positive that grants will also fund projects that improve disability access to community gardens.

“Community gardens are an opportunity for people to come together by enabling them to make connections across generations and cultural backgrounds and develop new skills.” said Minister for Community Services Simone McGurk.

McGowan Government provides $1 million boost for regional childcare

The McGowan Government has delivered a $1 million election commitment to boost early childhood education and care services in regional Western Australia.

The grant funding is being made available over four years to assist local governments attract and retain staff, which will in turn help providers offer more childcare places and allow parents and carers to return to work.

Payments of up to $25,000 are available for individual Local Government Authorities to deliver a range of initiatives to attract and retain childcare workers in the regions, including subsidised accommodation, relocation costs, intrastate travel and training and professional development.

Early childhood education and care services in regional WA face unique challenges in attracting and retaining qualified staff. Access to suitable facilities is often through arrangements with local governments.

Child-to-educator ratios are set in legislation and the number of childcare places available at a service is often dependent on the number of staff available.

For more information on the grants and to make an application visit https://www.wa.gov.au/government/publications/attraction-and-retention-packages-regional-childcare-workers-program

“Parents and carers in regional areas sometimes face long waiting times to get places in childcare services, with the number of places often dependent on the availability of staff.

“This $1 million State Government funding package will help local governments attract and retain childcare workers, in turn giving more parents and carers access to childcare so they can return to work.

“This is especially important in regional towns where there are greater challenges in finding workers and the choice of early childhood education and care services on offer can be limited.

“By delivering this important election commitment, the McGowan Government is not only bolstering early childhood education and care services, but providing important benefits to children, working parents and regional communities.” said Minister for Community Services Simone McGurk.

 

McGowan Government releases new measures to tackle antisocial behaviour and boost safety in City and Northbridge

The McGowan Government has announced a raft of new measures to tackle antisocial behaviour and boost safety in the Perth CBD and Northbridge.

The measures focus on a greater police and security presence, as well as boosting outreach and support for vulnerable people in the central business district, including those sleeping rough.

The additional measures announced today include:

  • Investing $1 million in patrols by Aboriginal liaison and security service RooForce throughout the CBD and Northbridge;
  • Increased police presence with a mobile command post in Yagan Square;
  • Investing $1.5 million to improve outreach for those sleeping rough and deliver better co-ordination of services;
  • A new Safe Perth City working group to be chaired by Perth MLA John Carey to co-ordinate efforts by WA Police, the Department of Communities and Department of Health, with the City of Perth and key outreach services to also be invited; and
  • A $2.5 million upgrade of the Perth Train Station forecourt including better lighting, pedestrian movement and connection to Yagan Square.

The new measures come on top of previously announced increases in police presence for the City and Northbridge including an additional 100 officers deployed in the Perth Police District, and more patrols over the summer months as part of Operation Heat Shield 3.

Operation Heat Shield 3 will include more mounted police, canine unit, bike and beat patrols in and around entertainment and transport precincts to deter antisocial behaviour and provide reassurance to the public.

“The McGowan Government is committed to tackling antisocial behaviour in Northbridge and the Perth CBD.

“We are boosting our police presence throughout the CBD and Northbridge with 100 additional officers being deployed to the Perth Police District and more patrol hours as part of Operation Heat Shield 3.

“The City comes alive over summer and we will have a significant police presence throughout the CBD and Northbridge so people can relax and enjoy everything it has to offer.” said Minister for Police Paul Papalia.

“We have been looking closely at the design of the Perth Train Station forecourt to improve both the functionality and safety of the space.

“We’ve already installed improved lighting at the entrance to the train station and we are currently in the process of implementing significant design changes to the train station forecourt.

“These changes are designed to increase foot traffic in the area, improve safety and enhance the connections between Yagan Square and the train station.” said Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti.

“The McGowan Government already invests more than $108 million each year to support rough sleepers and people experiencing homelessness in WA, and this additional investment in outreach services for the CBD and Northbridge will help to connect more vulnerable people with the services that can assist them.

“In recent months, the State Government has opened two new services in central Perth for people experiencing homelessness who need help with getting into long-term housing or recover after a stint in hospital – the Boorloo Bidee Mia supported medium-term accommodation facility and WA’s first medical respite centre.

“We understand the challenges we face, and are investing unprecedented amounts in evidence-based solutions that support our long-term homelessness strategy.” said Minister for Community Services Simone McGurk.

“These initiatives are another step in the right direction for making our CBD a safe and vibrant place for people to visit.

“We want to encourage as many people as possible to head out to the CBD and Northbridge this festive season – and my message is very simple: we will have a significant law enforcement presence in place to make sure everyone can safely enjoy everything our City has to offer.

“This is not just about addressing antisocial behaviour but also helping vulnerable people in our CBD, by assisting them into wrap-around support services.” said Perth MLA John Carey.

New safety program for Western Australia’s FIFO workforce

The McGowan Government has established a new program to address the serious issue of workplace sexual harassment and assault in the mining industry.

The new Mental Awareness, Respect and Safety (MARS) program will be funded with an initial $1.9 million.

It will also boost responses to mental health, drug and alcohol use and other health and safety issues in the mining industry.

The initiative will enhance the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s (DMIRS) enforcement model and processes for responding to incidents of sexual harassment and assaults.

DMIRS is working with companies that have revealed the non-disclosure of events in the current parliamentary inquiry to determine whether or not they should be prosecuted.

DMIRS will manage the MARS program in partnership with the Mental Health Commission, the Equal Opportunity Commission and the Women’s Interests Minister.

This first phase of the MARS Program is scheduled to commence in 2022.

The McGowan Government is committed to ensuring safe workplaces for all WA employees, including through implementing the 12 Respect@Work report recommendations that apply to the State Government and developing Western Australia’s first whole-of-government Sexual Violence Prevention Strategy.

 

“The safety and health of workers is a high priority for the McGowan Government. Every worker should be able to go to work without fear of physical or psychological harm.

“This $1.9 million funding allocation will support the first phase of the MARS program to address serious mental health, workplace culture and mine safety issues.” said Minster for Mines and Petroleum Bill Johnston.

“As the Minister for Women’s Interests I’m very aware that women face an unacceptable and disproportionate risk of sexual violence in their homes, workplaces and communities.

“The level of underreporting of sexual assault and harassment in the mining and resources sector is completely unacceptable.

“The McGowan Government is acting to ensure workers – especially those working on mine sites – are safe and protected at work.” said Minister for Women’s Interests Simone McGurk.

 

Eagles join 16 Days in WA campaign to call for end to violence against women

The West Coast Eagles’ iconic club colours of blue and gold took on a different hue this morning as the men’s team trained in orange socks at Mineral Resources Park to help call for an end to violence against women on the final day of 16 Days in WA for 2021.

Now in its fifth year, the 16 Days in WA campaign seeks to raise awareness about the issue of gender-based violence and put an end to attitudes and behaviours that excuse or downplay disrespect towards women.

The West Coast Eagles have been proud supporters of this year’s campaign, which has included 2018 premiership defender Tom Barrass joining Eagles AFL Women’s star Hayley Bullas as official 16 Days in WA Agents of Change.

Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk met with the playing group this morning at the Eagles’ headquarters in Lathlain and praised the club for taking a proactive stand on an important community issue.

The Eagles’ display of orange socks for 16 Days in WA symbolises the official theme colour of the campaign, which is inspired by the global 16 Days movement that runs from November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to December 10 (Human Rights Day).

Last year, 65 per cent of assaults recorded in Western Australia were related to family and domestic violence (up by 15 per cent in 2019). Of the 22,257 victims, 73 per cent (or 16,262 victims) were female.

As part of the expansion of the Respectful Relationships education program currently in schools, the McGowan Government has committed almost $1 million to adapt and deliver the program in sport and recreation clubs and organisations in 2022.

More information on 16 Days in WA, including the campaign kit, is available online.

“Sporting organisations and groups have an important opportunity to role model respectful behaviour and take steps to address gender inequality and prevent violence against women.

“This campaign works to prevent violence before it occurs, and educating as many people as possible about respectful relationships is key to driving this change.

“It is incredibly powerful to see an organisation as large and well respected as the West Coast Eagles lending their support to the 16 Days in WA campaign.

“With more than 100,000 members across the State, the Eagles are backed by a large and passionate fan base.

“Having the Eagles players wear orange socks for 16 Days in WA sends a very clear message that violence against women is never acceptable and will help start conversations.

“While the 2021 campaign is drawing to a close, I urge all Western Australians to keep the ‘Don’t be silent when you see violence’ message front of mind all year round.

“Together, we can end disrespect and violence against women.” said Minister for Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Simone McGurk.

“West Coast as a club is committed to doing what it can to stamp out violence against women.

“The number of instances in our community where women are disrespected and subjected to violence is alarming and cannot be tolerated.

“If our club, by supporting this campaign, can assist in reducing the incidences and give people the strength to speak up against violence, then we will take some satisfaction and pride in that outcome.” said West Coast Eagles CEO Trevor Nisbett.

 

Family and domestic violence sector thanked as 16 Days in WA campaign ends

Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk has thanked family and domestic violence services for the work they do to keep women and children safe all year round as the State Government’s annual 16 Days in WA campaign draws to a close.

The Minister today attended a special function hosted by the Hon. Kim Beazley AC, Governor of Western Australia, at Government House, marking the end of this year’s 16 Days in WA to Stop Violence Against Women campaign.

The morning tea was organised to acknowledge the efforts of the family and domestic violence sector and its workers, particularly as they head into the busy Christmas and New Year period, which is unfortunately associated with an annual spike in family and domestic violence-related police call-outs.

This year’s campaign included a number of significant announcements that deliver on key McGowan Government projects and election commitments.

Expanded women’s refuges were officially opened in Kwinana and Peel, with accommodation capacity doubled at both facilities, further increasing the available support for women and children fleeing family and domestic violence.

The Kimberley region was confirmed as the fourth WA location for the establishment of a one-stop family and domestic violence hub, which will provide a range of specialist services and linked community supports in a single location to prioritise the ease of access for victims who are seeking help and support.

The Minister announced new grants for sector-led initiatives during 16 Days in WA that will help support survivors of family and domestic violence.

RSPCA WA received a $1 million boost to extend the popular Pets in Crisis program, which offers a temporary home for animals from households experiencing family and domestic violence, making it easier for pet owners to seek refuge or temporary accommodation of their own, into Bunbury, Busselton and Albany.

Bridges, buildings and beacons across the State were lit up in the campaign’s official theme colour of orange for 16 days as part of the Landmarks Alight initiative. Prominent landmarks such as Matagarup Bridge, Fremantle Prison and Optus Stadium joined the sea of orange to raise public awareness and prompt conversations about family and domestic violence.

Hundreds of government agencies, businesses and community groups across the State have engaged with the campaign by sharing messages on social media, hosting morning teas and getting involved in public conversations aimed at challenging negative behaviours linked to gender-based violence.

16 Days in WA runs from November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) through to today (Human Rights Day) each year. The campaign takes its inspiration from the global 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

Further information on the 16 Days in WA campaign can be found online.

“Western Australia has an issue with family and domestic violence, and we all have a responsibility to help stop this scourge.

“One in three Australians believe that if a woman doesn’t leave her abusive partner, then she is responsible for the violence continuing. These are the kinds of attitudes that must change.

“The 16 Days in WA campaign continues to raise public awareness and encourages Western Australians to take a stand against gender-based violence, and help stop violence before it begins.

“I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to the many dedicated staff and workers within the family and domestic violence sector who support women and children in need.

“With the campaign ending today and the festive season upon us, I urge people to remember that respectful relationships and violence-free spaces are important all year round.

“Violence against women is never acceptable and it needs to be called out in all its forms. Don’t be silent when you see violence.” said Minister for Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Simone McGurk.

 

Women’s Domestic Violence Helpline – 1800 007 339

Men’s Domestic Violence Helpline – 1800 000 599

1800 RESPECT is a national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.

Construction begins on $8.7 million East Metro Women’s Refuge

Construction has commenced on a new purpose-built women’s refuge facility in Perth’s east that will assist women escaping family and domestic violence.

Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk today turned the first sod of the $8.7 million project that will deliver 10 crisis accommodation rooms, as well as supported transitional accommodation units to support an additional 18 women.

The start of construction represents the culmination of more than four years of planning and collaborative work between the Department of Communities and specialist refuge service provider Zonta House Refuge Association.

Construction of the facility will be led by Western Australian building company Swan Group. The contemporary design created by Whitehaus Architects includes environmentally sustainable, safe and culturally appropriate spaces. There will also a generous landscaped outdoor area to help foster wellbeing.

The refuge will accommodate women with complex issues and provide survivors with wraparound support services, including access to specialist mental health services to help reduce the rate of women returning to crisis centres.

It will work to increase the economic independence of survivors and support them to get their lives back on track.

The turning of the first sod at the East Metropolitan Women’s Refuge coincides with the State Government’s 16 Days in WA campaign, and project completion is anticipated in 2023.

16 Days in WA promotes community awareness and challenges views that can prevent victims of family and domestic violence from seeking help or assistance. It also seeks to put an end to behaviours that allow victim-blaming to go unchecked.

More information on the State Government’s 16 Days in WA campaign, including a campaign kit with 16 ways to take action, is available online.

 

“The East Metropolitan Women’s Refuge will significantly increase family and domestic violence accommodation capacity in Perth’s eastern suburbs.

 

“New purpose-built refuge facilities go a long way to ensuring women escaping violence are offered a safe space and treated with dignity and respect, so I have no doubt that this facility will make a real difference to the lives of victims.

 

“I would like to thank Zonta House Refuge Association and its CEO Kelda Oppermann for their ongoing partnership and passion for this important project.

 

“The State Government looks forward to working with Swan Group to deliver a crucial infrastructure project that will help to keep women safe and support them as they rebuild their lives.

 

“Too many women and children are impacted by family and domestic violence in Western Australia, so for this year’s 16 Days in WA campaign we’re asking everyone ‘Don’t be silent when you see violence’ to help stop violence before it begins.” said Minister for Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Simone McGurk.

 

“This new refuge will provide a vital service in Perth’s eastern suburbs for women fleeing domestic violence who are in need of accommodation, so it’s great to see the build under way.

“I’m proud to be part of a Government that continues to invest in additional supports for victims of family and domestic violence.

 

“New purpose-built facilities that are linked with specialist wraparound services that help women rebuild their independence are key to breaking the cycle of violence.

 

“I look forward to working with my Government colleagues and Zonta House Refuge Association, which has a great track record of delivering refuge support services, to deliver this important community facility.” said Cannington MLA Bill Johnston.

‘Don’t be silent’ amid high family violence risk this festive season

The McGowan Government is reminding Western Australians experiencing or at risk of family and domestic violence that help and support is at hand during the festive season.

 

Sadly, the Christmas and New Year break is characterised by a spike in family violence incidents with financial pressures, increased alcohol consumption and more time spent at home creating a stressful environment for some people.

 

New Police figures show a 16 per cent spike in family and domestic violence related police call-outs was recorded during the months of December and January last year when compared to the monthly average for the year.

 

Today, Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk and Police Minister Paul Papalia visited the Family Violence Special Case Team to highlight their important work in tackling the scourge of family and domestic violence.

 

The specialist team focuses on identifying and apprehending intimate partner perpetrators who commit multiple and very violent family violence related offences.

 

Significantly, the McGowan Government provided $2.5 million to ensure every frontline police officer has access to specialist family and domestic violence training and is more effective in responding to these incidents.

 

The visit coincides with the State Government’s 16 days in WA to Stop Violence Against Women campaign, which has a theme of ‘Don’t be silent when you see violence’ this year, and encourages bystanders to speak up when they see violence or disrespect towards women.

 

More information on the 16 Days in WA to Stop Violence Against Women campaign, including a campaign kit with a list of 16 ways to take action, is available online.

 

“Last financial year, there were more than 58,000 police call-outs to family violence incidents.

 

“The high rates of family and domestic violence are unacceptable and it’s highly likely that there are many more incidents that are never reported.

 

“It is a devastating reality that, as many other Western Australians celebrate and enjoy the festive season, incidents of family and domestic violence typically increase.

 

“I urge victims and people concerned about violence to come forward so we can help.

 

“If you know someone who is suffering, or you may have experienced it firsthand, then please speak up.” said Minister for Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Simone McGurk.

 

“It’s a disturbing fact that over the Christmas and New Year period, our police are called out to an increase in family violence incidents.

 

“It should be a time when families come together.

 

“We are determined to do what we can to tackle the scourge of family violence.

 

“Our police do a tremendous job responding and supporting victims, but we must take a stand against this in our community.

 

“If you are a victim of family violence, please don’t suffer in silence. Say something and Police will help you.

 

“If you’re a perpetrator of family violence – there is help available and you can break the cycle.” said Minister for Police Paul Papalia.

 

Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister’s office – 6552 6600

Police Minister’s office – 6552 5600

 

*Where possible, please include the following numbers in media stories about family and domestic violence to assist people concerned about violence with seeking help.

 

Women’s Domestic Violence Helpline – 1800 007 339

Men’s Domestic Violence Helpline – 1800 000 599

1800RESPECT is a national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.

 

Pets in Crisis program expanded to Albany, Bunbury and Busselton

Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk has announced a $1 million expansion of the Pets in Crisis program into the Great Southern and South-West regions during the 16 Days in WA campaign to stop violence against women.

 

The Pets in Crisis program offers a temporary home for animals from households experiencing family and domestic violence while their owners seek refuge or temporary accommodation of their own.

 

Under the program, pets are placed with short-term foster families in confidential locations, giving their owners peace of mind that their pet will be safe and well cared for while they focus on their own safety.

 

Individuals and families will often put off fleeing a violent situation due to concerns regarding the safety of their pets if they are left behind in the home, with one study reporting that 35 per cent of women delayed seeking refuge for this reason.

 

As part of the State Government’s 16 Days in WA campaign to stop violence against women, Ms McGurk announced expansion of Pets in Crisis to several regional areas in Albany today, highlighting the Pets in Crisis program’s potential to save lives and thanking foster care volunteers in person for helping to break the cycle of violence in their communities.

 

The Department of Communities has been supporting the Pets in Crisis program since 2017.

 

While dogs are the most common pets cared for through the program, there has also been a rich assortment of other companion animals supported during this time including cats, chickens, guinea pigs, rabbits and even a pair of rainbow lorikeets.

 

The announcement coincides with day nine of the 16 Days in WA campaign, which promotes community awareness and challenges views that can prevent victims of family and domestic violence from seeking help or assistance. It also seeks to put an end to behaviours that allow victim blaming to occur.

 

More information on the campaign, which has a theme of ‘Don’t be silent when you see violence’ in 2021, and the campaign kit with a list of 16 ways to take action, is available online.

 

“The Pets in Crisis program run by RSPCA WA not only ensures that animals are protected, it encourages women who are experiencing family and domestic violence to seek help.

 

“Pets play such an important role in our families, but unfortunately perpetrators can exploit that connection with threats and intimidation, which can prevent women from fleeing a violent household.

 

“As a passionate pet owner myself, I am delighted to be announcing an expansion of this much loved program into the Great Southern and South-West regions, and I thank RSPCA WA’s wonderful foster carers who do a great job ensuring that beloved pets are well cared for while women and children are finding safety.

 

“Promoting initiatives that help keep women safe is an important part of the 16 Days in WA campaign, and the Pets in Crisis program is a great example of this.” said Minister for the Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Simone McGurk.

 

“RSPCA WA congratulates the State Government on its commitment to expanding the Pets in Crisis program into the South-West and Great Southern.

 

“Domestic violence affects all family members, including pets. Pets in Crisis not only gives human victims peace of mind about their animals, it also provides a safe haven for the pets of violent households, who are often abused or threatened with abuse.

 

“RSPCA WA is aware of the increased number of calls in the region from refuges looking to support their clients who are pet owners, and from women themselves who refuse to leave a violent situation unless they can take their pets with them.

 

“There is a clear need for the program in regional WA and RSPCA WA is proud to deliver it.” said RSPCA WA Chair Lynne Bradshaw.