ACT Budget 2017-18
Broadcasting sporting matches or housing homeless families: can't Canberra do both?
The ACT Budget’s $1 million increase to homelessness services is overshadowed by the allocation of $11.6 million to upgrade Manuka Oval’s broadcasting facilities.
Families ACT Executive Officer Will Mollison says the money committed for new media and broadcasting facilities at Manuka Oval shows that there is money to be spent in the ACT, and we should be directing more to services that support the growing number of homeless Canberra families.
'We congratulate the Treasurer on the ACT’s improved Budget position, and believe this should be reflected in addressing the growing gap between those who enjoy Canberra’s prosperity and liveability, and those at the bottom of the ladder,' Mr Mollison said.
'It’s winter in Canberra, and while women escaping domestic violence are sleeping in cars with their children, we are still waiting for a strategy to address homelessness and housing affordability. The community sector has been asking for action for three years, and in that time the number of people without safe shelter continues to grow.'
On a positive note, Families ACT is glad to see the ACT Government has listened to concerns from community organisations and child health professionals about the need to provide greater mental health support for children in the Middle Years, those aged 8-12.
The $1.17 million commitment to expand the Primary School Intervention Program (under CAMHS, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) will increase counselling services to primary school-aged children who are showing early signs of mental health concerns, such as depression and anxiety.
'Families ACT has been concerned about the gap in services for primary school-aged children, particularly those aged eight to 12, which is one of the most crucial development stages in a person’s life,' Mr Mollison said.
'This is a common-sense prevention and early intervention investment. A huge body of research shows that the Middle Years are the next best opportunity, after early childhood, to address issues that can become more serious in the teenage years, and entrenched in adulthood.'
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