Families ACT
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ACT Budget 2018-19: Media Release

ACT Budget 2018-19: Modest gains in community services, but expectations remain high for action on housing affordability and homelessness.

Families ACT is encouraged that Canberra's women’s refuges have received an urgent funding top-up in this year’s Budget, but disappointed that the community is still waiting for a fully-funded solution to the Territory’s housing affordability and homelessness crisis.

Families ACT Executive Officer Will Mollison welcomed the allocation of $6.5 million for accommodation for women and their children escaping violence. “This includes $100,000 each in secure, top-up funding for the Beryl, Doris and Toora refuges, which have been in crisis since they were hit with massive funding cuts in 2013,” Mr Mollison said. “The community sector looks forward to working with the Government to also develop new support programs for older women and for refugees and asylum seekers escaping domestic and family violence.”

Families ACT also welcomes the $2 million commitment for Our Booris, Our Way – an independent review of the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the child protection system. This must lead to an end to the alarming number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being removed from their families in the ACT.

We congratulate the Treasurer on bringing the Budget to surplus this year, but we are disappointed today’s Budget didn’t include more information about how the ACT Government will solve the Territory’s housing affordability and homelessness crisis. 

The community sector has been waiting a year and a half for the ACT Government’s promised Housing Strategy, but more importantly, the people without a safe place to live, or who are experiencing severe housing stress, are also still waiting. This raises expectations for the delivery of a strong housing strategy in coming months that will deliver real relief to the Canberrans who need it.

We have to question the allocation of $2.2 million for developing and promoting the CBR brand, and $5 million to establish the Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund. The fastest growing economy in Australia shouldn’t need a charitable fund. Making sure that every Canberran enjoys the ACT’s prosperity should be central to our brand.

Ultimately, putting money into services that need it is more urgent than balancing the books.

 

Karen Hall