The final piece of funding needed to make Orange’s long-awaited domestic and family violence centre become a reality is likely to be approved soon.
That’s the view of the state government parliamentary secretary for Western NSW Rick Colless.
“I expect that will be given the green light in the next few weeks,” he said.
“These projects are approved on a priority basis from the top down.
“[As] it’s got the number one priority from the Orange City Council we’re almost 100 per cent, say 99.9 per cent sure that it will get approved.”
Housing Plus has sought a $700,000 grant from the state government under the Stronger Country Communities Fund to add to the $2.2 million already raised from various government grants and local fundraising.
Housing Plus chief executive David Fisher said they needed just over $3 million for the centre to go ahead.
He said if the funding was approved the centre would take 12-18 months to complete.
Mr Fisher said two potential sites had been identified.
Orange mayor Reg Kidd said it was the top priority for the council because of the high rates of domestic violence in the area.
“I’m very, very confident we will get that grants funding,” he said.
“We have a high level of domestic violence.
“I’d love to, in three to four years, be standing here and say ‘what other use have we got for this great villa?’
“I’d love to see a decrease in the statistics.”
Member for Orange Phil Donato, a former police prosecutor, said the domestic violence rate in Orange was double the state average.
“Orange has the 15th highest rate of domestic violence assault in NSW, these are figures not to be proud of,” he said.
“This facility will go a long way to assisting the many victims and the children who are effected by domestic violence in providing a safe refuge for them to come.
“I prosecuted thousands of [domestic violence] cases and often the biggest problem was victims that had no where to go if they left a volatile and violent relationship.
“This provides a sanctuary for them.”
Member for Calare Andrew Gee said the federal government had provided $588,000 toward the accommodation centre.
“It will be a first in terms of crisis refuges in NSW,” Mr Gee said.