Media Release – AWHN faces job losses

Australian Women’s Health Network faces job losses unless Federal Government funding reinstated

  •  Call on all political parties for support for vital work of AWHN
  •  30 year contribution in driving better health outcomes for all Australians at risk

The critical work of the Australian Women’s Health Network is under threat with the organisation warning all jobs will go unless Federal Government funding is reinstated.

For over 30 years Australian Women’s Health Network (AWHN) has been driving better health outcomes for Australian men and women and the organisation says without federal government funding there will be job losses.

With the loss of funding at the end of 2015, AWHN CEO Kelly Banister says the organisation has been actively seeking support and further funding.

“There has been significant investment in the Australian health sector recently but the outcomes have not been as effective as they could be and need to be. AWHN identifies the gaps and connects the dots from grassroots to high-end policy to amplify the benefits of a healthy Australia. Without funding, job losses in AWHN will impact the incredible work we do in Australia,” says Kelly Banister.

“According to the World Health Organisation, taking action to improve gender equity in health and address women’s right to health, is one of the best ways to reduce health inequities and ensure the effective use of health resources.”

AWHN has also been seeking endorsement from political party leaders to support the first Australian Women’s Health Charter enabling the organisation to add even more value to the work that is already being done in Australia’s health sector.

Strong and unequivocal political leadership is crucial on women’s health and wellbeing and we call on all politicians to endorse the Women’s Health Charter. A key proposal of the first Australian Women’s Health Charter is for a publicly funded independent women’s health peak organisation to provide ongoing advice on policy, research and new and emerging areas of women’s health.”

“Senator Glenn Lazarus, leader of the Glenn Lazarus Team, is the first to endorse the Charter and we look forward to seeing more political leaders show support during the upcoming election.”

AWHN has a proven success model spanning over 30 years of collaborating with government and non-government organisations to connect and optimise the success of research, work and policy development for all of Australia.

Media Enquiries

For interviews with Chief Executive Officer, Kelly Banister
contact: 0408 061 901 /

For other enquiries contact Michelle Hoare, Communications Coordinator
contact: 0412 044 952 /

Australian Women’s Health Network

The national voice for women’s health

About Australian Women’s Health Network 

AWHN drives better health outcomes for all Australians through sharing analyses, research, policy developments and initiatives. The organisation links the research, work and investment that is already being done and amplifies the benefit for all Australians and the economy.

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More information on the first Australian Women’s Health Charter

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Media Release – Support from Glenn Lazarus

The Australian Women’s Health Network is delighted to announce the endorsement of the Glenn Lazarus Team for the first Australian Women’s Health Charter.

In a letter to the Australian Women’s Health Network (AWHN), Queensland Senator Glen Lazarus wrote:

“I am a strong supporter of women’s health and taking the necessary measures to ensure every Australian has affordable access to a high standard of healthcare.”

“Women’s health is particularly important, as targeted policy can deliver cost savings to the government and, as you rightly point out in your letter, reduce more expensive intervention if manageable issues are diagnosed and treated early. ”

The Senator’s full letter can be viewed here 

In the lead up to the Federal election, the Australian Women’s Health Network is seeking similar support for the Charter from all other political parties. The Network is asking for national commitment, to ensure the health and wellbeing needs of all women in Australia are met.

“It is great to see Senator Lazarus show leadership in endorsing the Australian Women’s Health Charter and committing to action in supporting its proposals if elected,” AWHN CEO Ms Kelly Banister said.

“This is the first response we have received to letters sent to political parties calling on their support.

“We hope other party leaders respond as promptly, to allow voters time to consider each party’s position on improving the health and well-being of women and girls in Australia in advance of the Federal election,” Ms Banister said.

“Women comprise the majority of health consumers, the majority of health service providers, and the majority of carers, yet Australian health care is, more often than not, designed by actively ignoring their unique needs.

“Acting is in the best interest of all women, men and children who are living in Australia.”

There are significant economic benefits if all Australian women had equal access to care and freedom from long term health conditions. For example, it is estimated that the health costs of violence against women and their children in 2021-22 will cost $445 million.

“When you put this alongside the chronic underfunding of women’s health services and Australia’s geographic and demographic complexities the case for action becomes irrefutable,” Ms Banister said.

“Improving the health of women improves all of our lives and contributes to a healthy society, making this a key priority issue in the coming election.”

More information on the first Australian Women’s Health Charter


Media Enquiries
For interviews with Chief Executive Officer, Kelly Banister
contact: 0408 061 901 /

For other enquiries contact Michelle Hoare, Communications Coordinator
contact: 0412 044 952 /

Australian Women’s Health Network
The national voice for women’s health

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Media Release – Launch of Australian Women’s Health Charter

The first Australian Women’s Health Charter was launched today by the Australian Women’s Health Network (AWHN).

The Australian Women’s Health Charter seeks to influence all political parties in the lead up the 2016 Federal election. It calls on them, if elected, to commit to national leadership in taking action to ensure the health and well-being needs of all women in Australia are met.

“The Charter gives a clear view of what is needed to improve the health of all women in Australia and put it the forefront of the political debate,” Kelly Banister, CEO of AWHN said.

“The Australian Women’s Health Network calls on all political parties and candidates in the election to endorse and commit to action on The Charter.

“Their responses will be posted on AWHN’s website so voters can decide who will deliver the best policy and services to meet women’s health and well-being needs, many of which presently go unmet,” Banister said.

“We also invite other organisations, businesses, governments and communities to sign on and adopt the Australian Women’s Health Charter as their own,” Banister said.

“The impetus for the Australian Women’s Health Charter came from the compelling evidence that what is needed for women to experience optimal health and well-being is a ‘whole of government’ policy and gender based services.”

“With bipartisan political commitment and cross sector and community support, together we can mark a new beginning for women’s health and contribute to the creation of a fair and healthy Australian society,” Banister said.

The ambition of the Australian Women’s Health Charter is to inspire all Australians to value women and understand that a woman’s well-being is the shared responsibility of the entire community, and that improving women’s health benefits the entire community.


Media Enquiries
For interviews with Chief Executive Officer Kelly Banister
contact: 0408 061 901 /

For other enquiries contact Michelle Hoare, Communications Coordinator
contact:0412 044 952 /

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Call for support

Dear AWHN members, friends and supporters

Today we are writing to ask for your help.

For 30 years the Australian Women’s Health Network has been the only national voice for women’s health in Australia.

Late last year, we were advised we would not be receiving a continuation of our funding from the Australian government.

You can read our statement about this here.…/

Over the past few months, the organisation has been totally focussed on getting alternate sources of income.

Our work for women’s health and gender equality is needed now more than ever. At this critical point in the network’s 30-year history, we need your financial help to continue our work.

You can make either a one off or regular donation to AWHN. Doing this by 30th June 2016 will go towards maintaining our strong, independent, national voice advocating for women’s health and wellbeing in Australia.

All donations over $2 are tax deductible.

Please share this post asking for support as far into your networks as possible.

Here are 2 suggested updates that you can copy and paste directly into Twitter or your Facebook page.

Help #savewomenshealth in Australia by making a donation to the Australian Women’s Health Network before the ‪#‎EOFY‬

The Australian Women’s Network needs your donation before the EOFY to continue its work. Please help #savewomenshealth

The Australian Women’s Health Network and its members are proud of what has been achieved so far, but clearly there is still much more to be done.

Please help us to continue our work.

With regards,

Marilyn Beaumont
National Board Chair

Kelly Banister
Chief Executive Officer




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Call for abstracts for the World Health Congress (Melbourne)

AWHN is partnering with Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) and others in organising the 15th World Congress on Public Health in Melbourne (3-7 April 2017), for the first time in Australia.

Analysing, demonstrating and sharing local, regional and global public health lessons particularly gender and discrimination is a key objective of the Congress.

We encourage you to join us by submitting your abstracts on women’s health and well-being priorities to ensure these important gender issues are raised, knowledge is shared and connections are made with other public health workers throughout the conference program.
Call for Abstracts
More Information

World Congress



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A gendered look at emergency response

A look at the recent devastating bushfires in WA and SA, indicate that more men die in these disasters, but the number of women is increasing.

This recent article from The Conversation supports the findings in our position paper from 2014, the Impact on Women’s Health of Climatic and Economic Disaster which can be found on the Women’s Health Hub.




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The future of the Australian Women’s Health Network

AWHN members may be aware that since 2012, AWHN has had 3.5 years of Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing funding.

This funding has enabled us to move from a purely volunteer ad hoc effort behind a national voice for women’s health to one of significant outcomes against each of our 4 priority areas. These are reported on in detail in the recently distributed AWHN Annual Report 2014-2015.

This service delivery has only been possible with government funding and this funding comes to an end on 31 December 2015.

Over the past 6 months the Department has been finalising and seeking applications for funding under the new Health Peak and Advisory Body Programme funding guidelines. AWHN submitted an application by the closing date 26 August.

In the face of uncertain funding going forward AWHN Board had resolved in August and confirmed in its most recent November meeting to use AWHN’s small reserve fund to extend staff contracts to the end of the 2016.

On Friday 27 November, AWHN received correspondence informing us that our application had been ‘unsuccessful on this occasion’. You would understand that this is a big blow to us.

It means that AWHN does not have national coordination funding to continue to employ the CEO and small secretariat staff that have helped us get to the strong position which we have achieved.

When the AWHN Board meets in early February 2016, it will make decisions on AWHN’s future operations beyond 31 December, which is when staff contracts end. We are faced with the knowledge that without additional ongoing secretariat funding our operational capacity will be severely restricted.

Any AWHN work will have to be undertaken on an ad hoc basis beyond 31 December 2016 as it will necessarily rely on the voluntary efforts of Board and other members and be subject to their availability.

It’s a hard decision to think about leading into the festive season.

The AWHN Board thank the AWHN staff, particularly Kelly Banister, for all the wonderful work in 2015, and we wish all members a safe and restful festive season spending time with those you love.

Ready for a challenging 2016.

Marilyn Beaumont
AWHN Board Chair



As the AWHN CEO, I’d like to thank Marilyn for her summary of our situation and agree it is difficult at the moment to adjust to the decision that has been made. It would be easy to feel that perhaps our hard work has not been recognised and valued, however I believe our achievements over the last three years are eminently demonstrable of our worth and relevance to the Australian women’s health landscape and policy makers.

As Marilyn pointed out, we have achieved an enormous amount, and our Annual Report documents this in detail.

The value of what we do is reflected in the level of stakeholder demand for our resources and expertise, and I thought to share a couple of examples of this:

The Women’s Health Hub: Australian Women’s Health Clearinghouse was established and launched by Minister for Health Sussan Ley in June this year. Since being launched the number of visits and resource suggestions have steadily increased, with the number of Hub pages viewed between September and October nearly doubling, from 3,536 in September to 6,645 in October.

Other resources developed by AWHN in the last three years continue to be in demand. We have published a range of resources on priority women’s health issues and most are in the top ten list of downloads.

In October alone, the Women and Mental Health, Sexual and Reproductive Health; the Impact on Women’s Health of Climatic and Economic Disaster; Doing Better Gender: Transformative Public Health Messages and Women’s Health Meaningful Measures  resources were downloaded for use from our website more than 260 separate times.

These are only a couple of select highlights from the many which spring to mind when I think of what we have achieved together.

I look forward to AWHN achieving even more for women’s health, now and into the future, and to engaging our stakeholders in consultation on how we can best keep progressing this important work, which I feel so very proud to be a part of.

With regards,

Kelly Banister
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Women’s Health Network



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Support the Australian Women’s Health Network

We are a not for profit organisation who has been advocating for Australian women’s health and wellbeing for almost 30 years.

We have recently joined two fundraising initiatives to allow our supporters to support us in the work we do.

Online accommodation booking via Quickbeds

Simply by booking your accommodation through the Quickbeds website, we automatically receive $10.

Online shopping via Shopnate

By downloading the Shopnate fundraising software, we are given a small amount from online retailers, every time you shop.

Every little bit counts.

Thank you.

Find out more here


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Unprecedented alliance calls for zero pollution in Australia

In an open letter to all Australian Parliamentarians, an unprecedented alliance of 51 health, environment, legal, aid, union, farming, and religious groups state have called for all parliamentarians to commit to strong emissions reduction targets, stating: “Australia and Australian people stand to lose so much from the impacts of climate change; it is in our national interest to be amongst the leading nations to ensure the world limits warming to well below 2 degrees. A zero carbon pollution future is possible, and it is all of our responsibility to make that future a reality for our children, and their children.”

AWHN was proud to sign this open letter along with 51 other organisations.


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Meeting with Julia Gillard

Julia Gillard, Former PM, AWHN Chairperson Marilyn Beaumont, CEO, Kelly Banister and SA Board Member Wendy Abigail met recently to discuss AWHN capacity building through philanthropic funds, now that the organisation has a tax deductible gift recipient and health promotion charity status.

It is vital that AWHN continues efforts in diversifying funding sources, and the meeting was an excellent opportunity to explore this.



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