The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has outlined its priorities for tomorrow’s ACT 2021/22 Budget calling for significant investment in community services and social housing to support vulnerable Canberrans and boost the ACT economy.
ACTCOSS CEO, Dr Emma Campbell said: “We have seen a number of positive announcements in the lead up to tomorrow’s ACT Budget including additional funding for public housing maintenance, support for mental health, investment in specialist homelessness programs and an increase in indexation of funding for community sector organisations to cover award wage growth of 2.5%
“ACTCOSS has also welcomed the announcement of funds for suicide prevention measures tailored for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples and then establishment of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Commissioner.
“ACTCOSS looks forward to seeing tomorrow’s budget papers to better understand the details of the announced commitments,” Dr Campbell said.
In its pre-Budget submission ACTCOSS called on the ACT Government to fund initiatives including:
- Support for community housing providers as part of delivering 600 affordable rental properties in the ACT
- Sustained and significant investment in community organisations to enable them to cover the full cost of delivering services and to meet increasing levels of demand
- A real increase in spending on frontline ACT Government and community health services to raise ACT service standards
- Funding for the AOD treatment sector to double its capacity
- Action on key cost of living pressures, including housing, health, transport, education, energy, and ensuring equal access to justice
- Investment in more community facilities
- Responses to address the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander peoples in the ACT justice and child protection systems; and
- The delivery and implementation of a Disability Health Strategy.
“Last week, when ACTCOSS gave evidence to the ACT Legislative Assembly’s Inquiry into the COVID-19 2021 Pandemic Response, I was asked what can be done to support vulnerable people.
“By funding the policy initiatives outlined in our pre-Budget submission, the ACT Government will be able to better protect Canberrans on low incomes and vulnerable people as the community emerges from the COVID-19 health and economic crisis.
“We hope that the ACT community sector and the people it supports will be prioritised in the 2021/22 ACT Budget. Investment in community organisations and social housing not only supports Canberrans facing disadvantage but also delivers significant returns on investment through jobs and spending in the local economy,” said Dr Campbell.
Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617 or 02 6202 7200.