Federal Budget 2022/23 — Responses from our Industry

See below for responses from:

  • National Shelter
  • Mental Health Council of Tasmania
  • Youth Network of Tasmania
  • National Disability Services

National Shelter

The 2022/23 federal budget continues to ignore the needs of low-income and vulnerable Australians and again fails to invest in social and affordable housing.

We are concerned that the only focus in this budget is on measures that provide fuel to an already inflated market. We need a suite of responses to address this housing emergency, not just one response.

The government has spent more in the past 12 months supporting people to renovate housing than on providing funding for people who urgently need housing.

This year’s federal budget does not provide any new funding for social and affordable housing.

There is no increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance which leaves low-income private rental households at the mercy of inflated rental markets. The tax offsets and one-off payments to households to assist with cost-of-living expenses are insufficient to the scale of the problem for households to meet their increasing costs.

The raising of the NHFIC liability cap by $2billion to $5.5billion will assist community housing providers deliver some more social and affordable housing. However, this is not a grant provided directly to community housing providers. Providers will still be required to source funding to building housing.

National Shelter continues to call for a national housing strategy with additional investment in social and affordable housing.

Mental Health Council of Tasmania (MHCT)

Health Minister Greg Hunt claimed in the weeks leading up to the Budget that mental health would be a key priority for the Federal Government, but the 2022-23 Budget does little to demonstrate that commitment.

While the Budget does include some welcome investments, they are neither at the scale required, nor appropriately targeted, to close existing service gaps and deliver meaningful reform.

MHCT is particularly concerned that this Budget fails to recognise the critical role of the Community Managed Mental Health Sector, with funding for these vital services and programs almost entirely absent from the announcements on Tuesday.

While this Budget does include some funding for clinical workforce initiatives, it does little to address the escalating workforce concerns being felt across the community sector. It also fails to provide funding for psychosocial support services and programs beyond 2023, despite commitments in the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement.

MHCT hopes that Tasmania’s bilateral agreement as part of the National Agreement, expected to be announced in the coming weeks, will provide plans and details for much needed investment in mental health and wellbeing initiatives to support all Tasmanians , whatever their level of need.  

Youth Network of Tasmania (YNOT)

This budget doesn’t address the real issues for young people such as affordable housing, youth unemployment and underemployment, transport disadvantage, inadequate income support and climate change to name a few. Short term assistance through one off targeted payments will do little to ease ongoing cost of living pressures for young people.

We welcome investment in workforce programs that directly benefit young people however it is unclear at this stage what the priority occupations will be for apprentices and how this scheme will be implemented.  

This federal government is yet to meaningfully engage with young Australians to understand their lived experience and solutions to the challenges they face. Ongoing investment in the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC), the national youth peak body for young people, is needed.  

YNOT welcomes investment in youth metal health services however, greater investment is needed in workforce development to ensure we attract and retain suitably qualified staff to meet demand. This is particularly important for community managed youth mental health services in Tasmania.

The first home buyers’ scheme is unlikely to benefit many younger Australians as they are already priced out of the market.

With the national youth unemployment rate more than double the national average many young people will not benefit from the $420 tax offset.

There’s also been no change in the budget for students at either university or TAFE.

National Disability Services (NDS)

National Disability Services welcomes the Federal Government’s commitment to ongoing funding for the NDIS in the 2022-23 Federal Budget, however recent research has shown funding at current levels is insufficient.

Disability service providers, as with many other businesses, have been doing it tough through the pandemic and have particularly felt the financial impacts of the recent Omicron wave

A recent survey of disability service providers by NDS has revealed that NDIS payments would need to increase from between 12 and 23 per cent, depending on the type of service, to offset the financial impact of Omicron.

The survey shows that additional costs to cover workforce shortages, extra PPE costs, and losses from cancellations have made it hard for service providers to remain financially viable in recent months.

National Disability Services CEO Laurie Leigh said “The disability space has suffered through the Omicron outbreak and it is disappointing to see this has gone unrecognised. Ahead of the upcoming Federal Election we are calling on all parties to defend the NDIS and renew commitments to adequately fund its future.”

Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council (ATDC) Tasmania

While welcoming the rollout of the National Take Home Naloxone Program, Tasmania’s alcohol, tobacco and other drugs peak body continues to be frustrated by the chronic underfunding of alcohol, tobacco and other drug services.

Given the impact alcohol and other drugs has on our community, the lack of priority on alcohol and other drugs is a serious issue, explains Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council Tasmania chief executive Alison Lai.

“The chronic underfunding of alcohol and other drug services across Australia is a long-standing issue that this Federal Budget unfortunately does little to address,” Mrs Lai said.

“The announcement in March that the government would continue funding for the National Ice Action Strategy will ensure that these essential services continue across the country but this is not new money, it is continuation of funding that was already being provided,” Mrs Lai said.

The ATDC welcomes the announcement of the National Take Home Naloxone Program, providing access to a safe, fast-acting medication that reverses the effects of opioid overdose or adverse reaction.

“This announcement builds on the success of the first pilot naloxone program in Tasmania in 2020-21, that saw at least 13 Tasmanians saved from overdose in one year,” Mrs Lai said.

“This is a significant number, as across the last decade there has been on average around 40 Tasmanians who lost their lives to accidental overdose per year.

“Tasmania’s Take Home Naloxone trial has been a great success with anecdotal reports of several lives being saved already, so we are pleased to see access to take-home naloxone expanded.

 “However, this Federal budget has failed to address the long-standing underfunding of a sector which remains under pressure to meet increasing service demand and changing client need.

“The ATDC echoes the feeling of frustration across the nation that the alcohol and other drug sector continues to be overlooked.

“The longer the Federal Government continues to push alcohol and other drugs into the ‘too hard basket’, the more Australians will be unable to access support when they need it,” Mrs Lai said.

You can find more reactions from the following organisations by clicking on the links below: