From: NSW Women's Refuge Resource centre
Published: Mon Nov 21 2005

Ms Cusack, the NSW Shadow Minister for Women, stated last week, that "the NSW Women’s Refuge Movement (NSW WRM) has entered into a "secret plan" with the Department of Community Services (DOCS) to secure management of all the women’s refuges in NSW and run them like a chain McDonald’s Restaurants".
Yvonne Wilson, a spokesperson for the NSW WRM stated, "I have worked in Refuges supporting women and children through domestic violence situations for 27 years, and I have been a member of the NSW Women’s Refuge Movement for 25 years, and I feel qualified to speak for past and present members when I say that the Shadow Minister’s comments are offensive and incorrect.
The Women’s Refuge Movement has worked tirelessly to improve the diversity of responses to women and children escaping or experiencing domestic violence. The 53 member refuges across NSW have assisted thousands of women and children escaping domestic violence with support and accommodation. We have never and will never aspire to a "one size fits all" model and we have never "taken over a refuge." To be referred to as a food chain, by the Shadow Minister for Women who has not even had the courtesy to meet with the organisation is utterly insulting. Ms. Cusack"s referral to our organisation’s business plan as a "secret plan" between us and the Department for Community Services would appear to be a flagrant attempt to mislead the public. There is nothing secret about it.
The reason that I say this so strongly, is that our Executive Officer sent Ms. Cusack a copy of our endorsed business plan in September this year. Ms Cusack has received the correct information and instead she is choosing to spread misinformation to the public and to parliament".
Ms Catherine Gander the Executive Officer of the NSW Women’s Refuge Resource Centre stated, "The NSW WRM has, over the decades, worked in partnership with various governments and Ministers for the sole purpose of providing the best possible services to women and children escaping and experiencing domestic violence. You would hope that an organization that has shared such a long relationship and partnership with a government department could together identify on-going service delivery issues without it being called publicly a ‘secret plan’ to take over. You would also think that a meeting with the NSW WRM would be a priority for the Shadow Minister for Women, in any serious attempt to evaluate, discuss, and attend to the needs of this sector before making unfounded statements in the Parliament and the Press.
With domestic violence an enormous issue for women and children in NSW, it is concerning that the Shadow Minister for Women, could not take the time to work constructively with the NSW Women’s Refuge Movement to improve services to such a vulnerable group which falls within the responsibilities of the Minister’s portfolio.
Company: NSW Women's Refuge Resource centre
Contact Name: Catherine Gander
Contact Email: eo@wrrc.org.au
Contact Phone: 0419886620