NSW govt intervenes over DV service cuts

NSW has funded all its election commitments and is strongly in surplus, says Dominic Perrottet.
NSW has funded all its election commitments and is strongly in surplus, says Dominic Perrottet.

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman has "immediately intervened" after he and the state premier were blindsided by a decision to cut domestic violence support services in western Sydney.

Mr Speakman and Gladys Berejiklian both said on Wednesday that they only learned of cuts to services that morning.

Ms Berejiklian said she and the treasurer were "very concerned" to hear about the reports as they were out spruiking their $26.7 billion health spend in Tuesday's state budget.

"I'd never let that happen on our watch," she told reporters in Sydney.

"Our government prides itself on having record investment in domestic violence - more importantly, we're the first government that's ever in Australia had a holistic approach to those issues."

Later, Mr Speakman said he'd immediately intervened to ensure there would be no cuts to the Sydney Women's Counselling Service, Penrith Women's Health Centre and Cumberland Women's Health Centre

It comes after the Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service on Tuesday criticised the government's 2019/20 budget.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet declared a "new golden century" and said the state was "strongly in the black, back to back", confirming a $802 million surplus in 2018/19 and $1 billion next financial year despite a drop in revenue and record $93 billion infrastructure spend.

WDVCAS NSW said there were "endless announcements" on infrastructure but no evidence of investment in any of their recommendations to tackle domestic violence.

"Women and children are being terrorised in their own homes at endemic rates and yet we are not seeing the NSW government commit to implementing the recommendations of the experts in addressing this crisis," director Hayley Foster said in a statement.

"Community safety should be the number one priority of a good government, and substantial numbers of women and children are not safe in NSW."

Labor's domestic violence spokeswoman Jenny Aitchison called on the coalition to outline any additional funding to tackle the issue, saying money for the sector was always unclear as it was spread across multiple portfolios.

The government also faced questions over funding for child protection, justice and tackling homelessness as the opposition continued to pore over Tuesday's budget.

The NSW Council of Social Service has said there's no new or additional funding to support the government's commitment to halve street homelessness by 2025, but Ms Berejiklian on Wednesday said that wasn't true.

"We've actually boosted what we put in place to do with that, our social housing program will see us build 3000 to 4000 new dwellings over the next few years," she said.

"There is a whole of government approach and I'll have more to say about that over the next few weeks."

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Australian Associated Press