Founder of the Illawarra Women's Trauma Recovery Centre Sally Stevenson said she is hopeful that the service can be up and running before the end of 2023.
The election of a Labor government in NSW opens up $2 million in immediate funding for the Centre to redevelop an interim site to start providing services, ahead of further funding of capital works to upgrade the old Port Kembla hospital where the centre will have its permanent home.
"We are absolutely confident now that the Trauma Recovery Centre will be a reality," Ms Stevenson said.
Up until the election, Ms Stevenson and the centre's supporters were locked in a tussle with the former NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard and the Health Department for funding.
In their final budget before the 2022 election, the federal Liberal government had set aside $25 million for the operation of the centre.
However this left the centre with funding but nowhere to operate, after the NSW government failed to commit to the capital costs of refurbishing a government-owned building.
"The former government had not made any commitment to support the establishment and fit out of an interim site, and nor had it made any formal written commitment," Ms Stevenson. "We've had verbal commitments, in budget estimates and publicly to the media, but had not confirmed that in writing."
With local member Ryan Park in the running for the health ministry and long-time backer Shellharbour MP Anna Watson in government, Ms Stevenson said she was confident the Labor party would honour its $2 million election commitment.
The centre would also not have to wait until the NSW budget, delivered in July to get going. Ms Watson said it was her priority to make the interim funding available now.
"This is something Sally and I have been working on with others for a long time, it has to be a priority and I'll be making sure Sally gets that money immediately," she said.
Ms Stevenson said it was not only her project that would benefit from the incoming government, but that women's health centres that had not had a structural increase in funding in 35 years would see their funding double over the next five years. There was work to do, however, when it came to access to abortion services.
"Putting a gender lens over the delivery of health services is really critical at the moment," Ms Stevenson said. "I look forward to working with [Mr Park] to ensure that women have equitable access to high quality health services."