Labor pledges to boost women’s health centre funding

Central Coast Labor MPs with Shadow Minister Harrison and CCCWHC CEO Theresa Mason

Central Coast Community Women’s Health Centre will receive a sizeable funding boost if Labor is successful at the March election.

Central Coast Labor MPs joined Shadow Minister for Women and Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Jodie Harrison, on February 1 to announce that a Minns Labor Government would double the current funding for Women’s Health Centres NSW, with a $100M investment over five years.

For almost half a century, Central Coast Community Women’s Health Centre (CCCWHC) has provided a range of health, counselling and crisis support services for women across the region, with sites in Woy Woy, Wyong and Wyoming.

The MPs said the Central Coast ranked second in the highest number of incidents of domestic violence across NSW in the last reporting period (Oct 21-Sept 22) according to the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR).

In the same period, BOSCAR revealed that the Central Coast LGA ranked second for breaches of Apprehended Violence Orders, and first for incidents of sexual assault across the State, they said in a joint statement.

“Central Coast Community Women’s Health Centre supports thousands of local women every year and is vital in providing a safe place for women who may fall through the cracks of the health system and otherwise end up straight into acute care,” they said.

“Up to 80 per cent of women who attend NSW Women’s Health Centres have experienced domestic or family violence.

“Labor’s commitment will ensure CCCWHC can keep its doors open and continue to provide specialised health care services for thousands of women across the Central Coast each year.

“It will also reduce pressure on our hospitals as women can access healthcare where they need it, when they need it, without having to go to an Emergency Department.

“Central Coast Community Women’s Health Centre provides a safe and private setting for women to access vital physical and mental health services, as well as domestic, family and sexual violence support.”

The new investment would see CCCWHC able to: increase staff retention; reduce waitlists for counselling appointments; reduce numbers of women turned away from services; reduce gaps in availability of local services; adapt services to emerging demographic trends and population growth; and adapt services to address the complexity of presenting health issues.

Harrison said Women’s Health Centres are a welcoming, holistic and trusted regular health provider for tens of thousands of women every year.

“These centres not only provide clinicians to support women with their physical and mental health; (they also) provide preventative classes, events and support groups which are so important for women who would otherwise put off looking after their own health needs,” she said.

CCCWHC CEO Theresa Mason said the centre treats 1,500 women each year providing over 7,500 occasions of services.

“We provide services, referral information and advocacy support to over 4,000 women per year,” she said.

“Our sector has now reached a crisis point.

“Centres are running unsustainable operating deficits, and are being forced to make skilled mental health, clinical and health education staff redundant and reduce our services.

“Unfortunately for a number of years we have been operating at a deficit.

“This funding will help us sustain our current activities and support us to provide our level of service.”

Accompanying Harrison to make the announcement were Shadow Minister for the Central Coast David Harris, Member for Swansea Yasmin Catley, Member for The Entrance David Mehan, Member for Gosford Liesl Tesch and Labor candidate for Terrigal Sam Boughton.

Media release, Feb 1
Central Coast Labor MPs