Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 1013 ..
We look forward to seeing the evaluation and to supporting this project to be permanently adopted within the context of the broad work that the government is doing to prevent youth homelessness and family conflict.
The ACT Greens look forward to continuing to work within government and from the crossbench to ensure continued, increased and, most importantly, secured and future-proofed funding for community services in the ACT.
MR MILLIGAN (Yerrabi) (5.43): At least one in five Canberrans has reported having physical or mental disabilities, notwithstanding that the incidence of depression and anxiety raises that even higher, with some sources saying that it could be as many as one in four. Despite being relatively new to this portfolio, I have already seen the strong commitment from the sector in obtaining good outcomes for people with disability. Whether through the NDIS or more mainstream services, the passion throughout the community in this sector is evident.
I welcome the investment that the government is making in the disability justice strategy and also look forward to seeing the new national disability strategy when it is released later in the year. But strategies and plans can only go so far. To provide a good roadmap they set priorities and accountabilities, but we need to see more investment and support at the local level
I do not stand alone in calling on the ACT government to do more. ACTCOSS has publicly stated that there is little new spending in this budget directly targeting vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, including people with disability despite these people being amongst the most impacted by COVID-19. Advocacy for Inclusion has publicly noted that there is nothing new for people with disability or disability-specific services. They have said that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted that vulnerabilities of government approaches towards our most at-risk communities including people with disabilities, so it is disappointing that their needs and the lessons learned are not reflected in the budget. They say more needs to be done to support people with disability at a community level. Many more organisations and groups and individuals feel the very same way.
I was disappointed to see that despite wishes from the community for increased local disability support during COVID-19, Canberrans living with disability, disability advocacy groups and disability services providers received next to nothing in the budget. This is especially concerning as many of these organisations and groups have requested an increase in funding only because they have seen a significant increase in demand. They made submissions to the ACT government in the hopes of being provided for in the budget and they have been let down. Organisations have been operating for a decade without any funding increases. These groups have to cut down on staffing despite increasing demands for support not only from our local communities but also from the ACT government themselves.
For too long the ACT government has played the blame game and pointed the finger at the federal government. Whilst all levels of government have a role, there is a significant responsibility at the state and territory level to deliver services to our community, and I do not think that this government is living up to that responsibility.