Community services

ACTCOSS Calls for Significant Investments in Community Services, Cost of Living and Indigenous Community-Controlled Organizations

The ACT Social Services Council (ACTCOSS) is calling for significant investments in community services, cost-of-living assistance, and community-controlled Indigenous organizations ahead of the release of ACT Budget 2022-23 tomorrow.

ACTCOSS CEO Dr Emma Campbell said: “Cost of living pressures continue to rise in ACT and more and more people are facing crisis and disadvantage. The budget must speak to the more than 38,000 Canberrans already living in poverty in the ACT and commit to finding real solutions to lift people out of poverty.

“We were delighted to see recent announcements of budget allocations from ACT for the renewal and maintenance of public housing and investments in initiatives to improve housing affordability.

“We also welcome the increased investment in the Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) sector, mental health and support to reduce Indigenous incarceration rates in ACT, including funding additional for community legal centers and expansion of Galambany Circle Sentencing Court and Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm.

“The pre-budget announcements responded to ACTCOSS advocacy which focused on the growing housing crisis, lack of community sector resources, increasing disadvantages caused by rising cost of living and prioritization self-determination and community control for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“ACTCOSS is hoping for a budget focused on helping the most vulnerable Canberrans,” said Dr Campbell.

In the ACTCOSS submission on ACT Budget Priorities 2022-23, ACTCOSS called on the ACT government to fund initiatives such as:

  • Set a zero goal for homelessness and enable community housing providers through access to affordable land, rezoning and rate exemptions
  • Resourcing and supporting organizations controlled by the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community, including a housing provider
  • Increase funding to the community sector to cover all costs, including staffing, service delivery, engagement in commissioning and policy development processes, and monitoring and evaluation
  • Engage in a commission of inquiry or royal commission into the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people in the justice system
  • Implementation and resourcing of all recommendations from the Our Booris, Our Way report
  • Appropriately and adequately target public service concessions to low-income people
  • Ensure a rapid, fair and inclusive transition to net zero that does not leave people behind

Dr Campbell said: ‘The ACT economy is strong overall and there is enough revenue to help those who need extra social support – if the ACT government gets its priorities right.

“ACTCOSS believes the people of Canberran want a fair and just community because it benefits everyone.

“We look forward to seeing the announcements in tomorrow’s budget that will propel us towards that outcome,” Dr. Campbell said.

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