NSW Budget Investment Welcome – NFP Sector
21 June 2016 at 4:35 pm
The New South Wales budget has invested in initiatives that will make a difference to the lives of people experiencing poverty and disadvantage, but a continued lack of investment in early intervention and early learning are missed opportunities, according to the NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS).
NCOSS CEO Tracy Howe said the state budget would see welcome funding injections to ensure people – particularly young people – have a safe, secure place to call home, to reduce crisis levels of domestic and family violence, to ensure people experiencing mental ill-health have the right support and people with disability continue to have strong advocates.
“Investment in these key areas will go a long way to reducing poverty and disadvantage in our state and ensure our communities are stronger. Everyone deserves a safe place to call home and our young people, in particular, deserve our protection and support,” Howe said.
“With the roll out of the NDIS it’s also crucial the advocacy services remain to support people with disability through one of the largest reforms this country has ever seen – it’s great to see funding for these service extended.”
Howe said the increase of $75 million over four years to tackle drug misuse in communities was a step in the right direction.
“The $8 million allocated to increase residential rehabilitation for women and parents with dependent children is, in particular, a great initiative. There’s only one service providing this support currently and it’s great to see more opportunities for women to address their problems with alcohol and other drugs without losing their children,” she said.
Howe said, while there was much to be positive about in the budget, it was disappointing, particularly given that early intervention initiatives and early learning continued to be overlooked despite the $3.4 billion surplus available to the government.
— NCOSS (@_NCOSS_) June 21, 2016
“NSW is in a better position than it’s ever been to invest in early intervention initiatives and early education and care,” she said.
“A 14 per cent increase in funding to early childhood education and care is a step in the right direction but we know too many children in NSW are missing out on the best possible start in life as investment in early childhood education and care fails to reach the most vulnerable.
“The NSW auditor-general recently showed NSW has by far the lowest proportion of children attending early childhood education in the year before school (82 per cent), is the state with the worst performance on the proportion of disadvantaged children in early childhood education (72 per cent), and has the least affordable fees.
“Expenditure in NSW on early childhood education and care per child aged 0 to 12 years was $202, compared with $347 in Victoria, $644 in SA and $683 in WA. We would like to see the NSW Government increase funding to $600 per child, bringing NSW into line with other states.”
The NSW treasurer, Gladys Berejiklian, said the 2016/17 budget delivered a record $21 billion investment in health services, up 5 per cent or $972 million since last year. It also included a record $1.8 billion investment on mental health services.
Other NSW budget highlights include:
- $190 million over four years to the Jobs for NSW fund, to tap the insights and knowledge of leading private sector minds to help drive government policy to grow the economy and create jobs
- $100 million over two years for the Smart, Skilled and Hired program to help address youth unemployment and ensure our young people have the opportunity to participate in our strong jobs growth
- a re-targeting of the Jobs Action Plan to businesses with 50 or less employees and increasing the rebate for employers who take on an extra employee from $5,000 to $6,000
- increasing the contestable VET sector budget by $29 million and creating an extra 50,000 vocational education places
- a $10 million social impact investment to target areas of the state with high youth unemployment.