6 June 2018
YWCA Canberra has welcomed the 2018-19 ACT Budget’s increased funding of domestic violence services and investment in early childhood education and housing options for vulnerable communities.
Many of YWCA Canberra’s recommendations from its pre-Budget submission and Leading the Change report were reflected in the Budget, including funding for women’s homelessness and domestic violence services, investment in STEM education for young people and programs to develop women’s leadership capacity.
YWCA Canberra Chief Executive Officer Frances Crimmins said the announcement 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, was particularly welcome.
“As a frontline service provider, YWCA Canberra understands the significant and growing demand for housing services, so we are pleased to see the continued funding of specialist women’s services, the extension of OneLink’s operating hours and a focus on wraparound support,” Ms Crimmins said.
“This Budget reflects the growing concern in our community that renting or buying a home in Canberra is becoming out of reach for many Canberrans, particularly those on low incomes.
“These measures are an important step forward, and we will continue to advocate for a significant increase in housing supply for those on low incomes and the introduction of land tax reductions for properties managed by community housing providers.”
YWCA Canberra also welcomed the continued funding of specialist women’s domestic violence and housing services to ensure that women seeking help are provided with the expert, competent support they need.
The announcement of $1.7 million over four years for more counsellors at the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre and Domestic Violence Crisis Service reflects the growing demand for these services, however Ms Crimmins called for clarity around funding arrangements after 2020, saying these essential services needed funding certainty to effectively support women in crisis.
As a key early childhood education provider in the ACT and member of the Children’s First Alliance, YWCA Canberra was also pleased with the announcement of $6.7 million over four years to develop an Early Childhood Strategy with a focus on equity.
“One in five ACT children are entering school developmentally vulnerable, and this figure is two and
a half times higher for children experiencing disadvantage, so this funding is a worthwhile investment to support vulnerable families during a period of change in the sector. ” Ms Crimmins said.
YWCA Canberra has also welcomed the significant funding commitment to establish a Future Skills Academy at University of Canberra Lake Ginninderra Secondary College.
“Through the YWCA Canberra Clubhouse, YWCA Canberra has seen first-hand the benefits of engaging young people in the critical skills areas of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, particularly as this has been identified as a rapidly growing area of employment in the ACT.
“YWCA Canberra hopes the Academy will increase the digital literacy skills of disadvantaged young people in the ACT and the scheme will include partnerships with community organisations to enhance digital inclusion.
“YWCA Canberra will continue to advocate for primary prevention initiatives for domestic and family violence, increased funding and transparency to support the implementation of the ACT Women’s Plan and funding certainty for specialist women’s services.”