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Duncan Murray

NSW leaders reach accord on DV action

Women voters are in focus ahead of the NSW state election, with the major parties promising to spend millions more on domestic violence and health services.

The coalition pledge of $20 million to fit more high-risk domestic abusers with ankle bracelets received in-principle backing from Opposition Leader Chris Minns.

Mr Minns said it was time to put politics aside and go with what worked to tackle the tragically high rates of women killed in domestic violence incidents.

"I think it's a good initiative, and I'd like to throw our support behind it," Mr Minns said of the government's plan.

"We regard one life lost as a result of domestic violence as one life too many so it's time governments and political leaders come together, put politics to one side and focus on what works."

It came as Labor delivered its own election promise to double funding to $100 million for 20 at-risk women's health centres, which cater largely to women who have experienced some form of domestic and family violence.

A further 200 electronic monitoring devices would be available under the coalition's plan, which Premier Dominic Perrottet said would offer an extra layer of protection for domestic violence victims and their families.

There are currently 60 devices in use under NSW's existing Domestic Violence Electronic Monitoring program.

"Victim-survivors and their families deserve to be able to go about their daily lives knowing there are significant protections in place to keep them safe from people who have harmed them in the past," Mr Perrottet said.

If Labor wins the election it will spend an additional $50 million over five years on the Women's Health Centre Program which it claims is chronically underfunded and at risk of seeing centres close.

About 80 per cent of women who use the health centres have experienced some form of domestic and family violence, 70 per cent are low-income earners and 10 per cent identify as First Nations women, according to Labor.

Mr Minns said funding for the centres had not kept up with increasing demand over their 40-year history.

"This funding will make sure women have access to key health services and relieve pressure on NSW hospitals," he said.

Denele Crozier, chief executive of Women's Health NSW, which operates the centres, welcomed the additional funding, saying it was good news for everyone.

"Women play a crucial role in our society so this is actually an announcement for men and children as well as for women," Ms Crozier said.

"When mum's well, the kids are well, dad's well, families are well."

Primarily located in Western Sydney and regional NSW, the centres provide women with access to physical and mental health services, as well as domestic, family and sexual violence support.

According to Labor, every dollar invested saved $1.71 in hospital and primary health costs, by diverting pressure from emergency departments and other mainstream health services.

Meanwhile, Women's Safety Minister Natalie Ward said the coalition's plan to expand electronic monitoring would take into account advice from domestic violence advocates, legal stakeholders and the NSW Police on this expansion.

"We've seen successful examples in other states of how this program can be rolled out, including Project Vigilance in Tasmania, which saw great success with the electronic monitoring of high-risk and persistent family and domestic violence offenders," Ms Ward said.

"We are always considering new and innovative ways to increase women's safety. This expansion of electronic monitoring builds on our already record investment in initiatives to help prevent and support victims of domestic violence."

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