As ever-growing waiting lists continue to place stress on staff and community alike, WILMA Women’s Health Centre is calling for the State Budget 2022/23 to increase investment in Women’s Health.
“Many of the women on our waiting lists have experienced domestic and family violence and are at a personal safety risk and sometimes are still living with a violent partner,” says Michelle Mays, WILMA Manager.
“Other women are experiencing or have experienced traumatic life events or intergenerational trauma and are in need of ongoing support.
The situation is distressing and heartbreaking.”
WILMA Women’s Health Centre is asking the NSW Government to provide increased base funding of $15.95 million per annum in the 2022/23 budget with indexation year on year escalating to $21.4 million by 2024/25 as detailed in their pre-budget submission to support the service delivery of Women’s Health Centers across NSW.
Ms Mays points out that the growth in populations, increased demand for services and, technology and compliance costs currently exceed the limited funding of WHCs.
“Women’s Health Centres (WHC) in NSW have had no increase in core funding since 1986,” she says.
WILMA Women’s Health Centre Incorporated was established in 1987 through the extensive efforts of the Women In the Local Macarthur Area, hence the conception of the Centre’s name.
It provides some of the most vulnerable women in our communities with counselling, caseworkers and therapeutic resilience programs for women and provide client safety advice and referral pathways especially for women who experience Sexual, Domestic and Family Violence despite limited funding.
Many centres also provide specialised Women’s sexual and reproductive health GP clinics.
“Our Centre’s also play a vital role supporting the mental health and wellbeing of women in the community through the coordination and provision of personal capacity building, social connection and health related services,” Ms May says.
State Member for Campbelltown and long-time supporter of WILMA Greg Warren stresses that WILMA needs adequate funding to ensure the vital services it provides can continue in the future.
“Funding for WILMA is not a luxury, it is a necessity,” Mr Warren said.
“Now is the time for the NSW Government to show their commitment in dealing with sexual, domestic and family violence throughout the state and prioritise women’s health and safety.”
Ms Mays says increasing funding to ensure that the centre had a base-line investment of $1 million per annum, would allow it to service about 5000 women per year.
“For Women’s Health Centres to deliver important services, we need a sustainable, properly funded workforce,” she says.