HEALTH leaders would be "devastated" if the state government failed to deal with a historic funding anomaly that has effectively halved the amount available to women since 1988.
A group of chief executives has called on the state government to redress the gap that has emerged over more than three decades.
The Women's Health Services Council says the state government should rectify the issue in the upcoming state budget as services continue to grapple with the pandemic's impacts.
It says funding for women's health has dropped from $4 per person in 1988 to $2 today.
"That is an effective cut of 50 per cent due to population growth having to be absorbed by under pressure women, staff and governance committees," the council said in a statement.
"This leads to burnout, compromises service provision, and threatens poor health outcomes in key local government areas because of the lack of investment."
The council has also said the government should tie funding to dedicated resources to women.
"Women in Victoria have higher rates of mental illness than men. In all but two local government areas across the state, anxiety and depression rates amongst women are significantly higher," it said.
The council's calls echo similar calls from Bendigo's Centre for Non-Violence, which has called for long-term funding in the upcoming state budget.
That group's chief executive Margaret Augerinos last month said that increased government investments were not always directed to priority areas.
She said the sector also needed to listen to the voices of experts about where resources should be prioritised.
Ms Augerinos also called for an end to short-term funding and pilot projects.
"To be able to commit to long-term funding cycles instead of a budget cycle would be helpful," she said.
"We are concerned about the funding model that exists doesn't really take into account the complexity of the rural environment we work in.
"Or the fact that there are additional costs incurred in delivering services in rural and remote communities."
The state government intends to hand down its budget on May 20.
The 24-hour statewide safe steps family violence crisis response line is 1800 015 188, Men's Referral Service 1300 766 491, in an emergency call 000.
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