Personal safety, economic wellbeing and women’s health are the priorities in the Coalition Women’s policy launched today.
In launching the policy at Cottesloe Surf Lifesaving Club on the day marking 20 years of women on surf patrol, Women’s Interests Minister June van de Klashorst said the policy addressed issues of real concern to women.
The personal safety of women is a key imperative, with the Coalition focussing on issues such as safety in public places and domestic violence.
“A key element of the policy is to make our communities safer, particularly public places,” Mrs van de Klashorst said.
“For example, we will continue to improve on measures to ensure the safety of women and all other passengers on public transport through the Westrail ‘Safelink’ security initiative by spending an additional $4.1 million a year on additional security staff.
“Capital works initiatives at stations costing $18.7 million will also be undertaken over the next four years including closed circuit TV at 57 stations, passenger safety watch hotline, improved lighting at all stations, secured park ‘n’ ride facilities and installation of ticket barriers at 13 stations.
“The issue of domestic violence is one that the Coalition has focussed on and we will introduce a Family Violence Court at the Central Law Courts with a planned future expansion to all courts of the processes learned from the pilot court at Joondalup.
“The Family Violence Court at Joondalup Court House operates with a specialist magistrate, police prosecutor and support staff to ensure greater safety for victims of domestic violence supported by a monitoring of perpetrators and treatment programs.
“The Coalition will also fund additional non-Government counselling services for victims of domestic violence costing
$1.25 million over four years.”
Mrs van de Klashorst said one of the biggest issues facing the community was the need to keep pace with the information revolution.
“The State Government has a whole of community strategy to hasten the access and utilisation of technology in day-to-day life,” the Minister said.
“However, there are some areas where women are lagging behind.
“For example, in recognition of the under-representation of women in the information and communication technology industry, the Coalition will establish an Education Assistance Scheme for women to study in the area.
“In another area of importance to women - the gender pay gap - measures include changing the Industrial Relations Act to reflect modern work places and seeking the support of industry to implement a major education and awareness campaign to improve gender pay equity.”
The Minister said that the Coalition would continue supporting action to ensure the current and future health and wellbeing of women were met.
“Significant initiatives include $1 million annually for a Cervical Cancer Prevention Program to maintain a Cytology Register to remind women to undertake pap smears,” Mrs van de Klashorst said.
“The Home Birthing Service will also be expanded from 70 to 150 births throughout the metropolitan area.”
Mrs van de Klashorst said the Coalition recognised that stronger communities would result from the full participation of women in all aspects of the social and economic development of the State.
“The Coalition’s policy is about giving women the option to choose the lifestyle they want to live,” she said.
“The reality of this choice has been shown by the employment figures released this week which show that Coalition policies have created the opportunity for the highest ever number of women to be in the work force.
“A total of 417,000 women are in the State’s workforce representing a 250 per cent increase in female employment since the Government came to office.”
Mrs van de Klashorst said 222,000 of those women were in full-time employment.
Owen Cole 9481 7810