WWDACT’s Response to the ACT Budget
The 2019-2020 ACT Budget has over all made some good commitments regarding the NDIS, chronic health management, housing and transport. You can read the budget papers on the ACT Treasury website.
Starting next year, the budget will be accompanied by social well-being indicators. WWDACT urges the government to prioritise a gender and disability responsive lens for these indicators.
Below we have broken down some key measures we welcome, as well a few things we feel were missing, in 5 key areas.
Disability Services and Advocacy
WWDACT is pleased to see investment in supporting disability services transition to the NDIS, including the continuation of the Integrated Service Response team, for people who fall into gaps in service during the transition to the full scheme.
We are also pleased at the continuation of funding for systemic disability advocacy from organisations like ourselves and People with Disabilities ACT.
WWDACT is also glad to see continuation of funding for non-NDIS services such as the ACT Taxi Subsidy Scheme, Rehabilitation, Aged and Community Care and the Children and Young People’s Equipment Loan Scheme.
However, this budget focuses mainly on government based services, with little investment in development of community led and run services.
Family Violence and Justice
Under this budget, the government has outlined plans to use of the Safer Families Levy to fund:
- Delivering family-centred responses for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families impacted by family violence
- Extending the Family Safety Hub legal services pilot
- Extending the Room4Change program to help prevent family violence
- Reducing the risk of deaths from family violence
- Training ACT Government frontline workers to respond to family violence.
However, there is still a need for investment in women’s crisis services and training for the community sector to respond to family violence.
In Justice, WWDACT is glad to see:
- Further support for Care Inc. and the Women’s Legal Centre so that they can continue to provide essential legal services to marginalised people in the ACT.
- Funding for the intermediary scheme in the courts to help vulnerable witnesses, including people with disabilities, to provide testimony.
WWDACT is disappointed not to see recurring funding for the implementation and oversight of the Disability Justice Strategy.
WWDACT welcomes several measures across the heath portfolio including:
- The investments in the new Walk-In centres at Weston Creek and Dickson.
- $2.5 million to co-design a program developing integrated care pathways and improve health outcome for people with ongoing and complex health conditions with GPs and consumers.
- Measures to support people with mental illness, including a 7-day-a-week Mental Health Consultation Liaison Service.
- A number of measures to support people with chronic illness by increasing capacity for rheumatology, ophthalmology and the childhood and gestational diabetes clinics.
- Funding to pilot support and psychosocial education activities for the families and carers of people with mental health conditions.
WWDACT welcomes a commitment to increase public housing by 200 dwellings, and renewal of a further 1000 existing dwellings. We also welcome a requirement of 15% affordable housing in all now green- and brownfield developments but we would like to see this include measures for accessible housing.
WWDACT would like to see future investment in the implementation of Universal Housing Design, as part of the National Disability Strategy and accompanying parliamentary agreement.
WWDACT welcomes funding for the replacement of buses in the Transport Canberra fleet, with a forecast 84 new buses in 2019-2020. WWDACT also notes that Transport Canberra exceeded its 2018-19 target for fleet accessibility (81%) and that 85% of buses are now Disability Discrimination Act compliant.
We are concerned at the lack of improvement measures for community transport. The Flexible bus service from Transport Canberra is only currently funded on a year by year basis, which offers little security for patrons, and requires some improvement to meet community needs.
For more information about how the ACT Budget affects the community sector, stay tuned for ACTCOSS’s Budget Snapshot.
Further questions on WWDACT’s view of the budget can be directed to Clare Moore, WWDACT CEO at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0468 324 695.