YWCA Canberra’s 2018-19 ACT Budget wrap up

6 June 2018

In the lead up to the release of the 2018-19 ACT Budget on 5 June 2018, YWCA Canberra and its members and supporters advocated for a range of initiatives to achieve gender equality as part of our Leading the Change platform.

Below is a snapshot of the key initiatives announced by the ACT Government across YWCA Canberra’s policy priority areas, as well as the recommendations we made prior to the Budget to ensure girls and women thrive in the ACT.

Read our media release and share your thoughts on the Budget using the hashtag #LeadingtheChange

Summary

YWCA Canberra has welcomed the ACT Budget’s increased funding of domestic violence services and investment in early childhood education and housing options.

YWCA Canberra has consistently highlighted the need to deliver housing and homelessness support that meets the unique needs of older women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and women and children escaping violence, so we welcomed the allocation of $6.5 million over four years to increase frontline homelessness services funding, including for services delivering support to older women, women and children escaping domestic violence, young pregnant women and migrant families.

YWCA Canberra also welcomed the continued funding of specialist women’s domestic violence and housing services, ensuring that women seeking help are provided with the expert, competent support they need.

Other key ACT Government announcements reflecting YWCA Canberra’s recommendations include:

  • Building a new housing complex to provide up to 10 more homes for dedicated and culturally appropriate housing for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans.
  • Increased funding for more counsellors for the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre and Domestic Violence Crisis Service to support women in crisis.
  • $696, 000 over four years to implement actions from the ACT Women’s Plan — the launch of the ACT Diversity Register, the delivery of a board traineeship program and associated leadership development and the creation of a resource building the evidence base for gender equality.
  • $5.6 million to fund a second Centre for Innovation and Learning as part of the ACT’s Future Skills Academy at the University of Canberra Gininderra school.

Housing Security

Initiatives announced by the ACT Government include:

  • $760 million for housing and services over the next four years
  • $23.4 million in funding to specialist homelessness services and community housing providers in 2018-19
  • $6.5 million over four years to increase frontline homelessness services funding, including for services delivering support to older women, women and children escaping domestic violence, young pregnant women and migrant families.
  • Funding for the new Commonwealth National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, which establishes ongoing and indexed funding for both housing and homelessness services. The ACT is due to sign the new agreement by 30 June 2018.
  • Building a new housing complex to provide up to 10 more homes for dedicated and culturally appropriate housing for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans.
  • Renewing 1,288 properties across the ACT Government’s public housing portfolio.
  • $250,000 for design work for second Common Ground development in Dickson
  • Releasing sites for 288 affordable homes, along with sites for 113 public housing and 20 community housing properties.
  • Setting a target to release sites for 472 affordable homes for eligible low-income householders.

YWCA Canberra’s recommendations:

  • As part of the new Housing Innovation Fund, support community housing providers by providing exemptions from commercial real estate taxes and obligations.
  • Ensure that the new ACT Housing Strategy includes targets on developing innovative housing models for women, including options to provide appropriate and affordable single unit dwellings for older women.
  • Introduce a tenancy advice and support service for older women as a critical step in connecting them with options for assistance, as well as ensuring that services meet their diverse needs. In its first year, allocate $100,000 towards a dedicated gender and older person’s specialist, to both build the capacity of One Link staff and to carry out analysis, to inform and improve the gender responsiveness of current services.
  • Ensure that the new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA) commits additional resources to transitional housing support for women and children escaping domestic violence. Ensure that future funding models incorporate the full costs of providing intensive, specialist support for women and children who have experienced violence and trauma.

A Life Free From Violence

Initiatives announced by the ACT Government include:

  • $5.9 million to undertake the next phase of the Family Safety Hub – a reprioritisation of existing projects funded by the Safer Families Levy.
  • $1.7 million over four years for more counsellors at the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre and Domestic Violence Crisis Service to ensure women in crisis can get the help they need as quickly as possible.
  • $1.5 million for translation services for non-English speakers seeking domestic violence support.
  • $1.7 million to continue and expand CBR NightCrew, which assists people affected by alcohol and/or drugs in the Civic nightlife precinct, including those at risk from assault and sexual assault.

YWCA Canberra’s recommendations:

  • Commit $615,000 per year to continue targeted Respectful Relationships educational programs to ensure all young people in ACT public primary and high schools have the tools and skills to form respectful relationships.
  • Adopt a shared responsibility approach to work with ACT-based universities to end endemic sexual assault and harassment on campus by ensuring a consistent approach to primary prevention, with all new students provided with mandatory respectful relationships and consent education that is relevant to diverse student populations.
  • Develop, fund and implement a new ACT Prevention of Violence Against Women and Children Strategy from 2018.
  • Increase funding to specialist women’s services, including services equipped to appropriately respond to intersecting forms of discrimination based on factors such as disability, religion, race, ethnicity and sexuality.
  • Introduce a long-term strategy for primary prevention, including funding mandatory implementation of Respectful Relationships education (including consent education) for all staff and students from kindergarten to year 12 and university settings.

Young People and Early Childhood Education and Care

Young People

Initiatives announced by ACT Government:

  • $5.6 million in 2018-19 to fund second Centre for Innovation and Learning as part of the ACT’s Future Skills Academy at the University of Canberra Gininderra school.
  • Rollout of commitment to provide every ACT public secondary student with a laptop.

YWCA Canberra’s pre Budget submission recommendations:

  • Prioritise funding in areas of need, including Tuggeranong and West Belconnen.
  • Increase the digital literacy skills of disadvantaged young people in the ACT.
  • Partner with community organisations to enhance digital inclusion, as the most appropriate mechanism for reaching disadvantaged young people.
  • Feature digital inclusion as an overarching theme of the new Smart Cities Strategy, with specific targets and resources allocated to young people.
  • Equip young people with the knowledge and skills to be safe online.

Early Childhood Education and Care

Initiatives announced by ACT Government:

  • $6.7 million over four years to continue work on a comprehensive Early Childhood Strategy to promote equity and quality in the ACT’s early childhood education and care sector.
  • Providing free early childhood education to 4,609 pre-schoolers this year.

As a member of the Children First Alliance, YWCA Canberra joined with other community organisations to call for three Budget priorities:

  • Develop an Early Childhood Education and Care Innovation Fund and Co-Lab to support programs that improve access to ECEC for children experiencing disadvantage.
  • Create an ACT Early Childhood Educators Professional Development Fund to support the ongoing need for professional development in the ECEC sector.
  • Commission modelling into the cost of extending funded preschool access to three year olds, as part of the Future of Education review process.

Gender responsive government

Initiatives announced by the ACT Government include:

  • $696,000 to deliver the ACT Women’s Plan initiatives of a diversity register and associated leadership and training programs.
  • Supporting businesses and training organisations to encourage women in male dominated trades.

YWCA Canberra’s recommendations:

  • Invest in building women’s leadership capacity in the ACT, and empower women and their organisations through a dedicated leadership grants fund.
  • Allocate resources to ensure the effective implementation of the first two years of the ACT Women’s Plan, including its ongoing monitoring and evaluation.
  • Undertake a rigorous gendered analysis of the Budget to understand its impact on women. Include women and their organisations in this process and publicly release the results of this analysis.
  • Provide adequate resources to the Ministerial Advisory Council for Women to play its intended role of advising the Minister for Women.
  • Streamline strategic oversight of gender equality in the ACT through positioning the Office for Women in the Chief Minister’s directorate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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