Continuing to make Canberra even more inclusive
Investing in our people is just as important as investing in Canberra’s infrastructure and services. That’s why the 2019-20 ACT Budget makes a strong investment in early intervention to improve social connectedness, strengthen families and help end the stubborn disadvantage that persists through generations.
Strengthening support for people with disability, reducing family violence and cutting the number of people coming into contact with our justice system will help build a brighter future for all Canberrans and see our community continue becoming more inclusive in the years ahead.
Boosting support for disability services
We will continue to grow our investment in support for Canberrans with disability with the full scheme arrangements for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in place from 1 July 2019. More than 6,800 Canberrans with disability are now accessing tailored support through their NDIS individual funding plan.
Our shared investment with the Commonwealth Government is projected to see about 500 additional participants join the scheme over the next four years.
At the same time as we are growing our contribution to the NDIS, we will maintain existing disability services that are not eligible to be considered as in-kind contributions to the scheme from 2019.
This will ensure these services remain free and accessible for Canberrans with disability who are not currently receiving an individual support package through the NDIS. These services include the Children and Young People’s Equipment Loan Scheme, the Child Development Service, the ACT Taxi Subsidy Scheme, the Integrated Service Response Program and Rehabilitation, Aged and Community Care supports.
Improving frontline services through the Safer Families Levy
The Safer Families Levy was introduced in 2016 as part of our community-wide effort to tackle family and domestic violence.
As the initial four-year initiatives reach completion we are updating our approach to continue the focus on frontline services while providing start-up funding for directorates and agencies to test and demonstrate the practical potential of innovative new service concepts.
New initiatives to be funded under this pilot approach in 2019 will focus on delivering family-centred responses for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families impacted by family violence; reducing the risk of deaths from family violence; supporting pregnant women at risk of domestic and family violence; extending the Room4Change program to help prevent family violence; and training ACT Government frontline workers to respond to family violence.
Building communities not prisons
We are working to reduce recidivism by providing better alternatives to jail and helping more detainees onto new pathways after leaving a custodial sentence.
This year’s Budget invests in a Justice Housing Service that will provide accommodation for women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans to support better life outcomes.
We will also establish a Reintegration Centre at the Alexander Maconochie Centre with accommodation for up to 80 low risk detainees. Detainees staying at the centre will be supported to improve their living skills, re-establish connections with family and friends and pursue employment, rehabilitation and education opportunities.
Protecting our most vulnerable
The ACT Government has responded strongly to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse by creating laws that make it the responsibility of every adult to make a report to authorities if they believe a child is being subject to abuse.
We are also introducing an intermediary scheme which will help vulnerable witnesses including children and people with a disability to overcome the challenges they face being heard by the criminal justice system.