The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) is calling for significant investment in community services, cost of living relief and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations ahead of the release of the 2022-23 ACT Budget tomorrow.
ACTCOSS CEO, Dr Emma Campbell said: “Cost of living pressures are continuing to increase in the ACT and more people are facing crisis and disadvantage. The Budget must address the more than 38,000 Canberrans already living in poverty in the ACT and commit to real solutions for lifting people out of poverty.
“We have been pleased to see recent announcements of ACT budget allocations into renewing and maintaining public housing and investments into initiatives to improve housing affordability.
"We also welcome increased investment in the Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) sector, mental health and support for reducing rates of Indigenous incarceration in the ACT, including further funding for community legal centres and expansion of the Galambany Circle Sentencing Court and the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm.
“Pre-budget announcements have responded to ACTCOSS’s advocacy which has focused on the growing housing crisis, under-resourcing of the community sector, increasing disadvantage caused by rising costs of living, and the prioritisation of self-determination and community control for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
“ACTCOSS is hopeful for a budget that is focused on helping the most vulnerable Canberrans,” Dr Campbell said.
In ACTCOSS’s ACT Budget Priorities 2022-23 Submission ACTCOSS called on the ACT Government to fund initiatives including:
- Setting a zero target for homelessness, and enabling community housing providers through access to affordable land, rezoning and rates exemptions
- Resourcing and supporting Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations, including a housing provider
- Increasing community sector funding to cover all costs including staffing, service delivery, engagement in commissioning and policy processes and monitoring and evaluation
- Committing to a Commission of Inquiry or Royal Commission into the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people in the justice system
- Implementing and resourcing all recommendations from the Our Booris, Our Way report
- Appropriately and adequately targeting utilities concessions for those on low incomes
- Ensuring a fast, fair and inclusive transition to net zero that does not leave people behind
Dr Campbell said: “The ACT economy is strong overall and there is sufficient revenue to assist those who need additional social support – if the ACT Government gets its priorities right.
“ACTCOSS believes Canberrans want a fair and just community - because it benefits us all.
“We look forward to seeing announcements in tomorrow’s budget that propel us toward that outcome,” said Dr Campbell.
Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617 or 02 6202 7200.