KEMPSEY Shire Council will seek assurances from Andrew Stoner and the state government about the Kempsey Women's Refuge.
The council wants to confirm the new contract for the Kempsey Women’s Refuge will not reduce the level of support available to victims of domestic violence.
It will request information regarding the demand for domestic violence and support within the shire from the supporting documents for the refuge tender.
These actions will result from a unanimously passed motion debated at last week’s monthly council meeting.
That motion superseded one tabled by Cr Betty Green before the meeting, which sought greater input on the refuge service, which has been run by The Samaritans since last month.
The deputy mayor’s motion had sought lobbying of Mr Stoner and the NSW government to ensure the development of a local committee to oversee the service.
Cr Green had wanted also to work with other local government bodies affected by the service change and focus.
And she had called for Mr Stoner to seek a review of the tender process, to ensure it had been undertaken in a fair, open and transparent manner.
Speaking in support of her motion, Cr Green said it was not about the refuge itself, but the NSW government’s change in focus from assisting women and children that were victims of domestic violence to the broader issue of homelessness.
She said a change in government policy three years ago had shifted the emphasis in tackling domestic violence by seeking to remove perpetrators and moving victims back into their own homes - but this had left many with no safe haven.
Speaking next, Cr Sue McGinn welcomed Cr Green’s support for the victims of domestic violence, but said it was not the council’s job to interfere in the operation of the refuge service.
She said there was no evidence of any need for oversight.
“Without this information, we’re well-meaning, but not well informed,” Cr McGinn said.
There could be no assumption of impropriety in the tender process either, she argued.
The reworked motions calling for the level of service for victims to remain at least on a par with the previous refuge operation, and seeking local data were put forward after further debate among councillors
Cr Green agreed to withdraw her original motion.