Quotes attributable to WACOSS CEO, Louise Giolitto:
“This year’s State Budget is generally welcomed by WACOSS, but there is always more that needs to be done,” Ms Giolitto said.
“The announcement earlier this week of an extra $875 million for social housing by the Premier Mark McGowan and Housing Minister John Carey will help to relieve the pressures on WA’s social housing system.
“This Budget also supports the continuation of successful early intervention and prevention programs like the Olabud Doogethu justice reinvestment site in Halls Creek and the expansion of Home-Stretch for young people transitioning out of out-of-home care to independence.
“Extending foster-care services up to the age of 21 is a great example of preventative policy that works and will ultimately change the lives of young people for the better; by supporting people early through community-based services, we can ensure they are able to thrive. It is important that the State continues to identify and invest into other similar successful initiatives so they too can shift from short-term piecemeal funding to sustain long term outcomes.
“We were also glad to see significant investment from the McGowan Government in the area of Family and Domestic Violence, following through on their pre-election commitments.
“The COVID-19 downturn disproportionately affected low-income households, women, young people and migrant communities. These are sections of the community that already doing it tough. Many Western Australians that are currently accessing community support services are doing so for the first time, which is a concern to us, and this is placing additional strain on already stretched services.
“It is pleasing to see the continued focus on ensuring low rises in household fees and charges, as these changes have a big impact on our most vulnerable West Australians. The two-zone cap on public transport fees will have a significant impact for low-income households living in outer suburbs where unaffordable fares act as a barrier to finding employment and support.
“The announcement of the end of the wages cap for the public sector demonstrates the unsustainability of low wages growth as costs of living continue to increase, but we would encourage the Government to apply the same thinking to community services contracts as they come up for renewal.
“While we are disappointed not to see the establishment of an Emergency Support Relief Fund to assist private renters who are at risk of homelessness due to rent hikes, we will continue to work with the McGowan Government to ensure that we minimise the impacts of COVID-19 on the whole community.
“This budget marks an important shift in State Government planning and investment in longer term outcomes. The combination of our strong economic position and the Premier’s unprecedented political majority creates an opportunity to think bigger and create a legacy that benefits our whole community into the future.
“With strong investments in health and mental health in this budget and policy reforms underway to put the commissioning of social services on a more strategic and sustainable footing, we look forward to the opportunity to work with the McGowan Government in the years ahead to strengthen initiatives that reduce the demand for crisis services and deliver better wellbeing outcomes to the WA community.”
Tim Oliver – 0431 9696 25