By Poppy Wise | 31 Jan 2017

Economics and Social Advisory Director Poppy Wise has called on new incoming NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to continue her predecessor’s work in focusing the state’s priorities.

When former Premier Mike Baird came to office in 2014, he inherited a staggering 321 targets, and swiftly reduced this list to 12 Premier’s Priorities, including health, housing affordability, infrastructure, child protection, homelessness and domestic violence. He also developed a dedicated Premier’s Implementation Unit.  

The idea of a dedicated delivery unit came from Tony Blair’s government in the UK.  It has been adopted by several governments around the world, although only Baird has employed this tactic in Australia.  The approach is based on the idea that leaders can get caught in the daily workings of government, and benefit from the support of a dedicated delivery arm – acknowledging policy making and implementation can be unique skillsets.  It will be interesting to learn whether Premier Berejiklian favours the same method.

Writing on LinkedIn, Poppy believes that while housing affordability should remain on the agenda as one of the ‘biggest issues people have across the state’, “one of the areas of the former Premier’s priorities that must retain strong focus is domestic violence”. 

“Domestic violence is a leading contributor of ill-health and premature death for women aged 15-45 years,” Poppy writes. “This exceeds all other risks for women in the age group, with one woman killed every week, on average, by domestic violence in Australia. 

“The former Premier set a target to reduce by five per cent the proportion of domestic violence perpetrators re-offending within 12 months.  This focus on re-offending is driven by the fact that 15 per cent of people charged with a domestic violence assault re-offend within 12 months, and of those, almost half re-offend before their first court appearance is finalised,” she said.

Poppy hopes that Premier Berejiklian would continue with the focus on intervention set up during Premier Baird’s time, including changing community attitudes to prevent domestic violence, tackling re-offending by increasing support for victims, investing in behaviour change programs for offenders, increasing the availability of information for potential victims regarding their partner’s or ex-partner’s history of domestic violence and targeting locations with significant rates of re-offending. 

“[Our] Economic and Social Advisory team has been involved in the ‘what gets measured gets done’ effort for several of these initiatives, designing evaluation approaches and undertaking evaluation of the impacts,” said Poppy.

“Unfortunately, Mike Baird did not see a reduction in the rate of reported domestic violence assault during his term.  In fact, reported incidents are increasing, probably due in part to increased awareness of domestic violence coupled with greater willingness to contact the police.

“Nevertheless, the rates of domestic violence in our community are unacceptable. We hope that under our new Premier, significant and urgent actions by government continue to address this crime.”

Poppy’s article was originally published on LinkedIn.

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