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Berry Street Statement to the 2024 Australian Federal Budget

The 2024 Australian Federal Budget has introduced several measures with the potential to significantly impact the lives of vulnerable Australians. While there are notable wins that align with Berry Street’s five strategic focuses—addressing family violence, healing trauma, providing safe homes, trauma-informed education, and proactive care for families and communities—there are also areas where the budget falls short of meeting the pressing needs of at-risk populations.


Addressing Family Violence

The allocation of almost $1 billion over five years to establish the Leaving Violence Program marks a substantial commitment to combatting family violence. The program, promising financial assistance (up to $5000) and support for those escaping violence (regardless of visa status), will be crucial for victim-survivors seeking to rebuild their lives.

Berry Street commends this initiative and recognises it as one critical step towards providing sustained support for victim-survivors and their families fleeing abusive and violent situations.

Providing Safe Homes

The budget’s investment in housing, particularly through the $1.9 billion boost in Commonwealth Rent Assistance and targeted support for housing women and children affected by domestic violence, is a significant step towards providing safe homes. Affordable housing is a critical need for our service users, and these measures will create some help alleviating rental stress.

Berry Street supports these measures that aim to provide more upfront grants to states, territories, and community housing providers, thereby increasing the availability of safe and affordable housing for those in need and recognise that further policies and budgetary decisions are required to meet the entrenched issues of housing affordability and safety.

Areas for Improvement

Berry Street urges both state and federal governments to prioritize evidence-based prevention strategies to reduce violence in the short and long term. Berry Street’s key recommendations include:

  • Establishing a national register for offenders, electronic monitoring, and national coordination of intelligence on serial violent offenders
  • Implementing changes in the justice system to better protect women, such as stronger bail laws, intervention orders, and enhanced police training around stalking
  • Introducing consequences for perpetrators across systems like child support, Centrelink, and the family courts, which are often weaponized against women
  • Preventing the spread of violent and misogynistic online content
  • Supporting frontline services to ensure all victim-survivors of family violence can access timely help
  • Investing in long-term support for victim-survivors and their children to facilitate recovery and break the cycle of violence