Premier promises new focus to target family violence
PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk has moved to stem the tide of domestic violence across Queensland.
Yesterday Ms Palaszczuk told APN Newsdesk exclusively she would form a committee to oversee domestic and family violence legislation.
The move follows the release late last month of the shocking Not Now, Not Ever report that investigated the depth of the problem across the state.
Police received more than 60,000 reports of domestic violence last financial year and advocates say at least 17 women have died at the hands of current or former partners since the start of the year.
Ms Palaszczuk said prevention was a major priority for the government, which has started the lengthy process of turning the Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence's 140 recommendations into reality.
The government is considering all the recommendations, including a specific domestic and family violence court, tougher criminal penalties, more emergency housing, a massive media campaign that could cost millions of dollars and compulsory state school education programs.
Ms Palaszczuk said the Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee would advise Women's Minister Shannon Fentiman and Disability Services Minister Coralee O'Rourke on the legislation that needed to be introduced into parliament.
She said the bipartisan committee would provide strong advice after wide consultation with stakeholders.
"Domestic violence is an issue that affects too many Queenslanders and their families and the establishment of a committee with dedicated oversight of relevant legislation is about giving it the attention it deserves," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"We are considering the recommendations handed down in the Not Now, Not Ever report headed by Quentin Bryce and when we start to implement recommendations, some will require legislation.
"Those that do will undergo forensic scrutiny by the committee to ensure they achieve what they're intended to and take into account the views of stakeholders.
"The Government's response to domestic and family violence must be strong and this committee will help ensure the strength of that response."
Taskforce head Quentin Bryce said the move showed the government's commitment to reducing family violence.
"I welcome this announcement which indicates that Government is getting on with the serious business of responding to the recommendations of the special taskforce," Ms Bryce said.
Ms Fentiman said there was a long road ahead.
"We're looking forward to putting in place a plan to deal with this very important issue," Ms Fentiman said.
"We need to work together to change the attitudes and culture that surround domestic and family violence in our communities."
- APN NEWSDESK