The federal government has defended its approach to a decade-long women's safety plan after initially opening the consultation period for only two weeks.
The timeframe drew a backlash from women's safety advocates, who criticised it for being too short during a pandemic and holiday period.
Former political staffer Brittany Higgins called out the federal government for being "breathtakingly disrespectful" after it set a two-week consultation period in the middle of January.
The national plan to end violence against women and children will span from 2022 to 2032.
"Two weeks to map out the next 10 years of the fight against gendered violence in Australia," Ms Higgins wrote in a Twitter post, which triggered a backlash over the timetable.
As the government extended the deadline to February 25, Women's Safety Minister Anne Ruston said the initial timeframe was a decision made by all states and territories at a women's safety taskforce meeting in December.
The minister contacted state and territory ministers who make up the women's safety taskforce over the weekend and they jointly agreed to extend the consultation timeline.
"The draft national plan is the culmination of 18 months of extensive, detailed and thorough consultation with victim-survivors, advocates, sector representatives, academics, business leaders and the broader community," Senator Ruston said.
"We have held a parliamentary inquiry, the national summit on women's safety, dozens of roundtables (and) two extensive public surveys."
An open letter signed by prominent women's rights advocates, community leaders and union heads, had called for the consultation period to run for at least six weeks.
"The tiny window of consultation diminishes this issue to our society and is shallow and disrespectful to our country. We need this plan to succeed," the letter said.
Labor also criticised the government for showing disinterest in the voices of women and advocates, saying women and survivors have again had to fight to have their voices heard.
"This grossly inadequate deadline came amidst a national pandemic, an over-worked sector and exhausted workers, and in the middle of school holidays," social services spokeswoman Linda Burney said.
"This government never misses an opportunity to demonstrate its disinterest in the perspectives of Australian women."
But Women's Minister Marise Payne said the government was taking the issue very seriously.
"We are world leading in this and it is important we continue to work together across the country," she told 2GB.
The Domestic Violence Crisis Service says it wants the plan to deliver a more inclusive approach to ending violence in the community by focusing on the voices of people with lived experience.
CEO Sue Webeck said the plan was a significant opportunity to help those impacted by domestic and family violence but needed to have "real and tangible budget commitments attached".
"This all needs to be backed by funding which provides continuity of service provision but also the ability to respond to the emerging needs of the community," she told AAP.
Senator Payne said the government had committed record funding in the last federal budget to ensure a smooth transition from the current plan to the next one.
Principal solicitor at the Women's Legal Centre, Claudia Maclean, told AAP the plan also needs to focus on the sector's sustainability as well.
"What about the high burnout rates in this sector? The high rates of vicarious trauma for workers coupled with the difficulties in training and attracting talented staff?" she questioned.
"What about investment in supports for staff, who are talking about child sexual abuse, family violence and sexual assault in their study while their children the same age as their clients are doing school work in the living room?"
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Australian Associated Press
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