Refuge needs more funds

IN BENDIGO: State opposition leader Daniel Andrews with member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards (left) and member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan (right). Picture: ANDI YU

IN BENDIGO: State opposition leader Daniel Andrews with member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards (left) and member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan (right). Picture: ANDI YU

STATE Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews has said he doubts that $3 million is enough to fund the long-awaited Annie North refuge in Bendigo.

Mr Andrews made the comments after a forum with family violence support service providers in Bendigo on Friday.

His comments came in the wake of Premier Denis Napthine's visit to Bendigo last week to announce the state government's allocation of money for the facility.

Dr Napthine announced $30 million for family violence service providers across the state - an installment on top of $95 million announced in the State Budget.

But Mr Andrews said Dr Napthine did not have the right policies in place and was "being arrogant" about "thinking he had all the answers".

"I don't have all the answers on how to prevent family violence," Mr Andrews said.

Mr Andrews met with local family violence service providers at Trades Hall on Friday.

Centre for Non-Violence chief executive Margaret Augerinos said the meeting was an open invitation for service providers to talk to Mr Andrews about what was needed to better serve women and children at risk.

The Centre for Non-Violence provides support to women and children who have experienced family violence, as well as programs for men who are violent.

Ms Augerinos said local family violence services were stretched to their limit.

"Demand is increasing, police resources are stretched and services are at capacity," she said. 

"I think it was a really positive move by Daniel Andrews to come to Bendigo to talk with local services about how we can improve," she said.

"He was really focused on hearing us."

Police resources are stretched and services are at capacity. - Margaret Augerinos

But Ms Augerinos said her organisation was not fussed which government they worked with, just as long as their needs were met.

"We're really hoping we can get strong bipartisan support," she said.

The Victorian Labor Party recently pledged to have a Royal Commission into family violence if elected into government in November this year. 

Mr Andrews said systems in place for addressing family violence in Victoria were broken. He said a Royal Commission was the most thorough way to fix it.

"If you look at the crime statistics across Bendigo and indeed across regional Victoria released this week, we've seen significant increases in the number of reported incidents of family violence," Mr Andrews said.

"No government will be able to get away with not implementing the recommendations of a Royal Commission," he said. 

"If we are elected on November 29 we will make this a priority."

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