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12 May 2021 Sexual Harassment

MEDIA RELEASE: Specialised services for women experiencing sexual harassment left with next to nothing in Budget

12 May 2021

Working Women’s Centres – the first point of contact for women experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace – received just $200,000 in the Federal Budget.  


“We are experts in preventing and addressing workplace sexual harassment and violence through one-on-one support, training and advocacy. The NT and QLD Working Women’s Centres are experiencing a funding crisis, yet only $200,000 was delivered in the Federal Budget. This represents only interim funding. How long can we wait for funding certainty?” said Nicki Petrou, Director of the Working Women’s Centre NT.


“Despite our long and proud history of supporting women workers and advocating for fairer and safer workplaces, we continue to battle for funding to keep our doors open.


“This is a huge missed opportunity for the Prime Minister to show a commitment to tackling workplace sexual violence. There is a massive unmet need for our services. Funding Working Women’s Centres is an easy, immediate and tangible solution for the prevention of sexual violence and provision of direct specialist support to women across Australia.


“In 2016, the Queensland Working Women’s Centre was defunded by the federal government and in 2020 we lost funding for the NT Working Women’s Centre. This Government has not provided any funding certainty in the Budget. This is disappointing to working women across Australia who are in desperate need of support.


“The Working Women’s Centre model is world-leading. We are the backbone of the struggle against workplace sexual harassment and violence. The voices of working women have not been heard. Survivors all over the country are speaking out, yet the “women’s budget” doesn’t adequately support survivors of sexual violence in the workplace. Scott Morrison has failed working women.”


“A key recommendation of the Respect@Work report – Recommendation 49 – was to fund Working Women’s Centres in every Australian state and territory. This is because our world-leading model is proven. Working Women’s Centres allow women to access free information and advice from specialist services when they experience sexual harassment at work,” said Nikky Candy, Director of the Working Women’s Centre SA.


“When a woman experiences sexual harassment at work they face very complex, personal choices. Being armed with the facts about their options empowers them at a time when they are incredibly vulnerable. Women should not have to make a decision between their safety and economic livelihood. This funding decision will leave vulnerable women even more vulnerable.”


“The Prime Minister has failed the test when it comes to tackling sexual violence in the workplace, especially for women in the NT who face the prospect of being left without specialised support in a matter of months. Funding the NT and QLD centres would have cost approximately $1.4 million per year, but instead, the government has only provided $200,000 in the budget to be split across both Centres.


“This $200,000 is not enough to save the NT Working Women’s Centre, which faces the prospect of closure after 1 July 2021. Both the NT and QLD Working Women’s Centres will have to turn away women in need of support and representation.”


“We are a much needed safety net for all Australian women to be supported at work. The government agreed with Recommendation 49 in their Roadmap to Respect, but has not yet done what is required to save the Working Women’s Centres,” said Fiona Hunt, Director of the QLD Working Women’s Centre.



WWC QLD Director – Fiona Hunt

WWC NT Director – Nicki Petrou

WWC SA Director – Nikki Candy


Notice of press conference


Senate Courtyard, Australian

 Parliament House


WHAT: Lawyers and advocates respond to defunding of Working Women’s Centres
WHEN: 11:15AM

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

WHO: Nicki Petrou, Working Women’s Centre NT Director

Fiona Hunt, Working Women’s Centre QLD Director

WHERE: Senate Courtyard

Australian Parliament House, Canberra



Nicki Petrou, WWC QLD Director

Fiona Hunt,WWC NT Director

Nikki Candy, WWC SA Director

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