Social Inclusion & Equality
Our community is full of great people who work hard to help others. Some of the best initiatives the Government has introduced to the ACT community in recent years have come together through partnerships between government, community and the not-for-profit and private sectors. This collaborative approach works to harness the power of inclusion and diversity in overcoming some of the challenges we face. The 2016-17 ACT Budget continues to support these initiatives along with addressing important arising community issues.
- The 2016-17 ACT Budget is a catalyst for the next phase of reform in the family violence service system. The $21.42 million package, over four years, includes funding for a full-time Coordinator- General for Family Safety to lead the whole of government effort to improve outcomes for victims and their families, integrated case management and coordination of family violence services, improvements to the child protection system’s responses to family violence and funding for the Domestic Violence Crisis Service and the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre for the vital work they do to support people affected by family violence.
- The Justice Reform Program will drive key reforms with a focus on the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our justice system. A $1.994 million package, including $1.3 million from the Confiscated Assets Trust Fund, will support the Indigenous Guidance Partner for adults undertaking Restorative Justice, the Justice Reinvestment Trial, a pilot bail support service, a life skills program supporting sentencing options at the Galambany Court and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experience reports to inform courts’ sentencing decisions.
- The Government will offer additional mentoring and training to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff in the ACT Public Service to improve their career development outcomes.
- A new position will be established for an Aboriginal staff member to manage the recently created ACT Parks Aboriginal Land Management Advisory Council and provide leadership and mentoring for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, conduct high-level stakeholder engagement and oversee operational, cultural interpretation and visitor service programs in 2016-17.
- The extended Throughcare program will be continued for one year with funding of$1.141 million. The Throughcare model provides assistance to adult detainees pre-release and for up to 12 months post-release. Detainees are assisted to overcome barriers around re-entry across five core areas: accommodation, health care, income, connections, and basic needs. This has a flow-on benefit to the detainees’ families and community.
- The Strengthening Ngunnawal Culture and History in schools initiative, in a two year pilot, will increase opportunities for local youth to build their connection and engagement with Ngunnawal culture and history. Educational programs involving guided nature tours for local youth in schools will be undertaken during the school term in 2016-17.
- $1.06 million will extend the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services in the ACT, and will support additional specialist outreach programs and extension of selected existing programs.
- The Government recognises the need to expand opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth. The Kickstart My Career Program will support young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at risk of leaving school. The program will develop culturally appropriate Flexible Learning Options to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in nationally accredited and vocational training in culture and land management. The total cost of $651,000 will be met from the existing resources of the agencies involved.
- The Government’s public housing renewal program is delivering the biggest upgrade to Canberra’s ageing public housing since self-government in 1989. The program will improve outcomes for public housing tenants with more sustainable housing that better meets their needs.
- An additional primary healthcare service, similar to that established in 2014 at the Early Morning Centre at UnitingCare in the city, will be established. The service will include GPs and/or nurse practitioners providing primary health-care and links to further services on a regular part-time basis at a location that already caters for vulnerable people and/or on a mobile basis.
- Mental Health Follow-up for Young People and Mental Health Intensive Rehabilitation will be a new outreach service for children and young people. A Young People’s Assertive Mental Health Treatment Team will be available for young people who are at high risk of developing, or are already experiencing, serious mental illness.
- Accommodation will be built to support people with mental health issues to recover and live in our community including an additional adult Step Up/ Step Down facility in south Canberra with tenancy availability of up to three months.
- The Mental Health Detention Exit Community Outreach program has been expanded for a further year. This is a community mental health service providing short-term intense support for individuals with a diagnosed mental illness. These individuals have been referred from ACT Forensic Mental Health Services to re-engage with the community and to gain independence following release from involuntary institutional care and/or the criminal justice system, particularly the Alexander Maconochie Centre.
- The Government is committed to extending a helping hand to Canberrans in need. Making sure vulnerable and disadvantaged people in our community have access to concessions for transport and basic services is a key pillar in the Government’s agenda. Funding of $53.5 million will go to for Concessions Program in 2016-17, which includes an additional $35 million over four years to meet increased demand for concession payments.
- The Government is providing $1 million in funding for the design and construction of upgrades to around 100 bus stops to meet Disability standards. The upgrades will include improved wheelchair accessibility to bus stop boarding areas, tactile for vision impaired customers and access paths.
The Confiscated Assets Trust Fund (CAT Fund) allows proceeds of crime forfeited to the Territory to be used for priority criminal justice initiatives. The Attorney-General is directing these funds to key initiatives under the Justice Reform Program :
- $850,000 for the Justice Reinvestment trial, which provides services and support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families experiencing family violence. The trial will deliver additional resources to Aboriginal run organisations, the Domestic Violence Crisis Service and ACT Policing. A key priority will be to examine how services and support can impact on the incidence of family violence.
- $400,000 will support a trial bail support service to coordinate and facilitate access to appropriate support services in the community, including emergency accommodation. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will be a key focus for the trial service. By reducing barriers to the grant of bail, the trial will allow individuals to remain part of the community, maintain family ties, promote continued employment and support long-term rehabilitation.
- $50,000 will be used in a trial of specialist reports prepared for sentencing courts aimed at shedding light on the cultural and social issues confronted by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- The Attorney-General will also utilise the CAT Fund to partner with Our Watch in the 2016-17 financial year to help drive nationwide change in the culture, behaviours and power imbalances that lead to violence against women and their children.
SOCIAL INCLUSION AGENDA
The Government’s social inclusion agenda aims to enhance and support our strong and fair community. We can be proud of the things we are doing together and excited about what we can achieve going into the future.