Anglicare has welcomed a $3 million package of assistance announced in the budget but says it is a short-term response.
This package includes funding this year for financial counselling, energy efficiency measures, and initiatives to help make food affordable and accessible.
“Last year we asked for frontline public services to be protected from cuts. This didn’t happen,” said Anglicare CEO, Chris Jones. “Now the government is saying it will quarantine some key agencies from further cuts. It is very hard to greet this as good news as those agencies are already struggling to deliver some essential services”.
Anglicare’s budget submission had called for the government to develop a framework for budget decision-making that considered the impact on ‘at-risk’ Tasmanians. “However, this budget is crisis-driven and runs the risk of deepening and entrenching disadvantage”.
“There is no money in disability to translate into extra services on the ground despite the fact that the demand for services far outstrip supply,” said Rev. Dr Jones.
“There is no extra money for oral health services even though the budget forecasts indicate that the waiting list for adults will increase from 12,863 Tasmanians last year to 17,969 in the next financial year”.
“The number of Tasmanians on the waiting list for public housing remains the same despite the implementation of a range of alternative housing measures. Again, the demand for public housing exceeds the supply and people in urgent need (Category One) of housing are waiting 17.2 weeks. The budget forecasts that these waiting times will rise significantly”.
“The budget projections are also for a steady decrease in funding to mental health services over time,” he said.