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On 19 October 2021, the NSW Government announced historic investment of $484.3 million, for housing and specialist supports for women and children experiencing domestic and family violence (DFV).

This is the single biggest investment in addressing DFV in the State’s history.

The funding will provide $426.6 million over four years to expand Core and Cluster to deliver and operate new women’s refuges that will support up to an additional 2,900 women and children escaping DFV, each year.

The funding package also includes:

  • $52.5 million over four years towards the Community Housing Innovation Fund (CHIF) partnership with the community housing sector, to provide approximately 200 social and affordable homes for women experiencing DFV.
  • $5.2 million over four years for a trial in two areas, one site in regional NSW and one in Greater Sydney, to provide dedicated supports for up to 3,200 accompanied children and young people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness, with a focus on those impacted by DFV.

This investment is on top of an additional $60 million over the next two years to boost frontline DFV services and an additional $32.5 million over four years, for the expansion of Staying Home Leaving Violence to support more women and children experiencing domestic violence to stay safe and secure in their homes. In addition, the Commonwealth Government has committed $80 million over two years under the 2021-2023 Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence National Partnership Agreement.

What is Core and Cluster?

Core and Cluster is an innovative model that allows for independent living and privacy while also providing access to supports. Under the Core and Cluster model, self-contained accommodation is located next to a ‘core’, which provides access to services such as counselling, legal assistance, education and employment support. The sites may contain meeting rooms, audio-visual equipment for court appearances, communal kitchens, and playgrounds.

The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) will employ a range of different delivery approaches including use of government and non-government owned land, and working with Community Housing Providers, specialist homelessness services and other organisations to deliver the refuges.

Suitability for companion animals will be part of the design considerations of each of the new Core and Cluster refuges.

Locations

This new investment will expand Core and Cluster across NSW. The locations of these new refuges will be targeted to areas where there is high unmet demand for crisis accommodation, including regional and rural areas.

An indicative distribution of the new refuges across DCJ Districts is provided in the table below. The table also identifies an opportunity for some of these refuges to be delivered through a targeted Aboriginal procurement approach, as well as the number of existing women’s refuges in each District.

ClusterDistrict Indicative distribution of new refuges Indicative targeted Aboriginal-led delivery Number of existing women’s refuges
Hunter and Central Coast Hunter 7 3 8
Central Coast 3 1 4
Illawarra Shoalhaven and Southern NSW Illawarra Shoalhaven 3 1 3
Southern NSW 3 1 3
Northern NSW, Mid North Coast and New England Northern NSW 4 2 4
Mid North Coast 3 1 6
New England 4 2 5
Murrumbidgee, Far West and Western NSW Murrumbidgee 3 1 4
Far West 2 1 2
Western NSW 7 4 8
Western Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains Western Sydney 9-10 1 8
Nepean Blue Mountains 4 1 5
South Western Sydney South Western Sydney 12-15 1-2 5
Sydney, South Eastern Sydney and Northern Sydney Sydney 1   7
South Eastern Sydney 3-4   9
Northern Sydney 2   5

Procurement

Construction of the new refuges will commence in 2022 and will continue over four years, up to 2025-26. Delivery will occur over three tranches.

The Hon. Natalie Ward MLC, Minister for Metropolitan Roads, Women's Safety and the Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence hosted a Roundtable on Monday 9 May 2022 about the delivery of new core and cluster women’s refuges across NSW.

The Minister announced the opening of Expressions of Interest process for Tranche 1, to set up and operate new Core and Cluster women’s refuges in NSW.

The DCJ presentation, delivered at the Roundtable, provides an overview of Core and Cluster procurement and stakeholder engagement.

Tranche 1 – ready to go projects that can be asset delivered between July and December 2022 (with services to commence on completion of construction).

Tranche 2 – projects suitable for implementation or further development from July 2023.

  • Expressions of Interest: open 23 July 2022 and close 12 August 2022 (indicative)
  • Request for Tender: open 26 September 2022 and close 24 October 2022 (indicative)

Tranche 3 – projects suitable for implementation or further development from December 2023. An Expression of Interest is expected to open in early 2023.

An Expression of Interest process will occur at the commencement of each Tranche. The Expression of Interest is to identify proposals and providers for the new or additional facilities (asset and/or service delivery) with each of the new refuge locations across NSW.

The Expression of Interest process will be followed by a Request for Tender process, consistent with the NSW Government Procurement Policy Framework.

A Probity Advisor has been engaged to ensure procurement is undertaken in an impartial and fair manner, with no party given advantage over another or unfairly discriminated against.

Information about procurement activity will be published on the NSW e-tendering site. Interested parties should monitor that site for the latest information.

Stakeholder engagement

DCJ will undertake stakeholder engagement with potential delivery partners from May 2022, with a focus on readiness for the Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 processes.

A Core and Cluster Discussion Paper has been developed to assist in the stakeholder engagement.

More information

Department of Planning and Environment Domestic Violence Crisis Accommodation Functional Design Brief

Important step forward for new women’s refuges

Landmark investment to help more women and children fleeing domestic violence – 19 October 2021 Media Release

Help with housing

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Last updated: 11 May 2022