Submissions

As part of our advocacy work, YWCA Canberra submits to government on key issues affecting women and girls in Canberra.

YWCA Canberra is currently calling on members to support the introduction of positive consent legislation in the Crimes Act (ACT).  You can use our template letter to contact your local member urging them to support this reform. 

Our Submission documents are available for download below:

YWCA Canberra’s submission to Justice and Community Safety (JACS) Crimes (Consent) Amendment Bill 2018 supports the change to a positive definition of consent, arguing it would be a progressive step forward for gender equality in the ACT and set a benchmark for appropriate sexual behaviour. We also argue that any legislative reform must be reinforced with education-based campaigns aimed at encouraging respectful relationships amongst peers. 

YWCA Canberra’s submission to the ACT Greens’ proposed legislative changes in relation to the definition of consent in sexual violence laws outlines our support for the inclusion of a positive definition of consent, based on the concept of free and voluntary agreement, in the Crimes Act 1900 (ACT).

In responding to the ACT Greens discussion paper on the proposed legislative changes, this submission focuses on three key issues. Firstly, the positive definition of consent defined as a free and voluntary agreement, secondly, how the consent provision may impact on diverse and vulnerable groups of women and finally, the importance of public education campaigns in supporting legislative changes.

YWCA Canberra’s submission to the Ministerial Housing Choices discussion paper outlines our support for housing models which address the multiple housing needs of women, and emphasises the need for urban and housing planning to adopt a gendered lens to address the specific needs of all women, and in particular, those fleeing domestic and family violence.

In this submission, we are calling for the development and implementation of innovative housing models in the ACT which leverage private investment for the provision of affordable rental housing, and calling on the ACT Government to support ACT registered community housing organisations to provide affordable rental properties. We have emphasised the need for government to undertake consultations with diverse groups of women to ensure their views are considered in implementing housing policy.

YWCA Canberra’s submission to the ACT Greens’ proposed legislative changes in relation to the definition of consent in sexual violence laws outlines our support for the inclusion of a positive definition of consent, based on the concept of free and voluntary agreement, in the Crimes Act 1900 (ACT).

In responding to the ACT Greens discussion paper on the proposed legislative changes, this submission focuses on three key issues. Firstly, the positive definition of consent defined as a free and voluntary agreement, secondly, how the consent provision may impact on diverse and vulnerable groups of women and finally, the importance of public education campaigns in supporting legislative changes.

YWCA Canberra’s submission to the 2017 ACT Government Housing Strategy, outlines that appropriate, affordable and stable housing is essential to the well being of both individuals and the community. However, for low and moderate income earners in the ACT, there are high levels of unmet demand for housing that is affordable and appropriate.

This submission also outlines that given the gendered nature of housing stress and homelessness in the ACT, it is crucial that any new strategy must explicitly address women’s needs and circumstances.

YWCA Canberra’s submission to the 2018-19 ACT Government Budget Consultation Process, outlines areas where immediate action can be taken to achieve a greater social impact within current budget allocations, as well as areas where a modest additional investment can result in significant benefits to the community.

This submission also outlines the practical steps that the ACT Government can make to increase the economic participation of all Canberrans, and ensure our most vulnerable community members are not left behind.

Recommendations made in this Budget Submission are provided under the four key areas of gender equality, early education and care, safe and affordable housing, and supporting young people in need.

YWCA Canberra’s submission on the Invasion of Privacy & Technology- Facilitated Abuse outlines nine key recommendations and highlights a number of immediate actions. This is in response to the ACT Greens’ proposal to reform ACT’s criminal law to address the evolving issue of non-consensual sharing of images and technology-facilitated abuse, and improve the safety, wellbeing and protection of young people in the ACT.

YWCA Canberra’s submission to the 2017-18 ACT Government Budget Consultation Process, outlines areas where immediate action can be taken to achieve a greater social impact within current budget allocations, as well as areas where a modest additional investment can result in significant benefits to the community.

This submission also outlines the practical steps that the ACT Government can make to increase the economic participation of all Canberrans, and ensure our most vulnerable community members are not left behind.

Recommendations made in this Budget Submission are provided under the four key areas of gender equality, early education and care, safe and affordable housing, and supporting young people in need. The fourth priority area of supporting young people in need has been developed in partnership with Marymead Child & Family Centre.

In our submission to the ACT Budget for 2016-17, YWCA Canberra strongly advocated for the ACT Government to:

  • Ensure the benefits of Digital CBR reach young people from underserved communities.
  • Ensure that children and young people are educated on respectful relationships, through best-practice primary prevention programs (and that any programs implemented in schools following the funding allocated in 2015-16 are held accountable to best-practice standards).
  • Provide support for at-risk young people through:
    • Extending current youth engagement activities in the ACT to support programs that re-engage young people in education or employment pathways; and
    • Providing funding for secondary intervention counselling services both inside and outside of the care and protection system, and school environments, for young people and their families, to prevent youth homelessness and disengagement from school in the middle-years.
  • Support women fleeing domestic violence by:
    • Reinstating to prior levels funding for gendered services to provide transitional housing support for families escaping domestic violence, acknowledging that gender-aware services are necessary to provide meaningful support to help break the cycle of violence; and
    • Increasing provision of safe, affordable, single unit housing for single women in Canberra, of all ages, recognising that not all women are in a position to share housing.
  • Make community inclusion and equality a priority for the ACT by reinstating emergency relief funding for all providers in the ACT.
  • Maintain quality early childhood education by:
    • Maintaining peppercorn lease arrangements for NFP childcare providers, and making a holistic cost-benefit analysis of the cost of concessions vs the impact on the community by NFPs; and
    • Continuing to implement the National Quality Framework.

YWCA Canberra made a public submission to the inquiry regarding the Australian Government Boards (Gender Balanced Representation) Bill 2015. The Private Member’s Bill, introduced by Independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon, seeks to legislate 40 per cent representation by women on all Government Boards. The Bill includes a requirement for annual reporting to Parliament on the gender composition of Government Boards.

The Gillard Government introduced a 40 per cent target of women on Government Boards, but since then the number of women on Government Boards has actually decreased.

YWCA Canberra’s submission fully endorses the Bill, saying the time for a ‘softly, softly’ approach on promoting gender diversity has passed. We believe this is the time for the Australian Government to take a stand and legislate to force cultural change.

In our submission to the DSS regarding its Nanny Pilot Program, due to begin in January 2016, YWCA Canberra is supportive of efforts by the Australian Government in making early childhood education and care more flexible and more accessible to parents, especially those in remote and rural communities, or who require services outside regular working hours.

However, we have seriously questioned the financial viability of the proposed pilot scheme, particularly as the program guidelines do not address the issue of penalty and over-time rates for nannies. We also believe the service provider fee has been set far too low for providers to adequately pay wages, ensure adequate training, and absorb all administration costs, plus more.

Our submission also addresses issues around duty of care and the lack of an educational component to the care model being proposed.

In our submission to the ACT Budget for 2015-16, YWCA Canberra strongly advocated for funding for primary violence prevention in ACT schools. In addition, our other key priority areas were housing affordability and homelessness and therapeutic services for young people and their family.

YWCA Canberra was invited to present at a public hearing for the budget estimates, where we strongly advocated for adequate funding to be allocated to the priority areas outlined above. Read a transcript of the hearing.

Our submission to the ACT Budget for 2014-15 aimed to ensure that the needs of women and girls in the ACT were addressed within the Budget, and that important services and program areas were highlighted to the Government.

Some of our priority areas outlined in our Budget submission were housing affordability and homelessness; therapeutic services for young people and their families; respectful relationships education for young people; and adequate subsidies to support children with special needs to access mainstream school age care programs.

YWCA Canberra was invited to present at a public hearing for the budget estimates, where we strongly advocated for adequate funding to be allocated to the priority areas outlined above. Read a transcript of the hearing.

In our submission to the 2013-14 ACT Budget, YWCA Canberra’s key priority areas were housing affordability; youth engagement services; eliminating violence against women; inclusive child-care services; and better support for women’s leadership initiatives.
In our submission to the 2012-13 ACT Budget, YWCA Canberra’s key priority areas included safe and affordable housing with a focus on women experiencing homelessness; eliminating violence against women; a sustainable community sector; better pathways for women into leadership roles; and youth engagement and children’s services.

YWCA Canberra strongly believes in the importance of recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution as the first Australians and traditional custodians of our lands. The values that sit behind proposals for constitutional recognition – respect, fairness, equity, diversity and empowerment – reflect the values that guide and inspire the work of YWCA Canberra and our approach to reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Supporting and participating in the campaign to reform the Australian Constitution to include recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as Australia’s first peoples is an identified action under our new Reconciliation Action Plan, available for download here. Our submission on Constitutional Recognition represents one aspect of this commitment.