2022/23 State Budget — Responses from our Industry

See below for responses from:

  • Aged and Community Services Australia (Tasmania)
  • Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council (ATDC) Tasmania
  • Carers Tasmania
  • Council on the Ageing (COTA) Tasmania
  • Family Violence and Sexual Assault Specialist Support Services
  • Mental Health Council of Tasmania
  • Women’s Health Tasmania
  • Shelter Tasmania
  • Youth Network of Tasmania

Aged and Community Services Australia (Tasmania)

The Tasmanian Government’s continuing investment in health and mental health is acknowledged, particularly with specific investments that focus on palliative care, Tasmanian Aboriginal wellbeing, a fit for purpose older person unit at the RHH, a Respiratory Unit at the LGH and mental health services through the Roy Fagan Centre.

However, unless the challenges of housing supply can be addressed, we will continue to see an inability to attract health care, allied health and mental health specialists to this state which places further stress on an already strained aged care and mental health service offering. Additional funding for ambulance services is welcomed as this will assist greatly in the delivery of paramedic services to elderly Tasmanians across the state.

ACSA is pleased to see the Governments Acknowledgement of Cost of Living pressures on elderly Tasmanian’s and for this reason we request an immediate stop to the proposal of implementing council rates on Independent Living Units for elderly Tasmanians. Through ACSA’s workforce development team we are pleased to be working with the Tasmanian Government to encourage more women in this state to consider aged care as a career option, however at the same time ACSA would like to see funding towards more men entering the industry. It is hoped that the investment in TasTAFE for both increasing teachers and student support will attract more focus on the aged care sector, which is the largest community services employer in this state. As Tasmania’s population ages, and with 25% of the population being aged 65 plus by the year 2030, we commend the Government for recognising that skills of older Tasmanians will be crucial in workforce participation. It is hoped that training programs will be developed to cater for ageing workforce members as they consider transitioning their career into new sectors, including aged care.

Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council (ATDC) Tasmania

Tasmania’s community-managed alcohol, tobacco and other drugs services have once again walked away from the annual State Budget questioning what more they can do to garner additional investment from the Tasmanian Government to reduce the harm of alcohol and other drugs in the community.

Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council Tasmania chief executive Alison Lai said that they were shocked at the absence of additional funding to support new initiatives for community-managed alcohol and other drug services.

“This was clearly a budget that didn’t want to upset anyone, by ensuring that community-managed organisations who were already receiving funding continued to do so,” Ms Lai said.

“Ensuring the ongoing funding of services is essential, but the lack of clear commitments to new initiatives has literally left us scratching our heads.

“Our organisation and our members have been working tirelessly with government over the past 12 -24 months, to progress a number of new initiatives that everyone agrees will strengthen the quality of, and access to information and services across the state.

“This includes the introduction of peer workers to support Tasmanians who chose to seek help, and the introduction of a data sharing system that our members have been working on alongside government for the past year.

“These requests were exceptionally reasonable and both of these projects align with the priorities of the Tasmanian Government’s Reform Agenda for the Alcohol and Other Drug Sector.

“To see the data project abandoned is particularly devastating and confusing as it was going resolve the long-standing issue of the lack of data that the government can access to inform their decision making on how to respond to drug use in the community.

“While there is reference to peer workers in the budget papers, there is no firm commitment to the level of investment which is equally frustrating.”

Ms Lai said that their members were feeling fatigued and frustrated at the painfully slow progress that the Tasmanian Government is making in the implementation of their Reform Agenda.

“The Tasmanian Government announced funding for the Reform Agenda almost two years ago, but very little progress has occurred”, she said.

“This causes increased frustration when initiatives are presented by the community-managed sector that align to reform priorities, but they don’t get supported.

“Our sector is ready to go, but this budget unfortunately communicates that the government is still not ready to move forward with us.

“We are a resilient sector, and we must be because Tasmanians from all walks of life use drugs and we must do more to reduce the harm and ensure support is available if people chose to seek it.”

Ms Lai said that they will try to salvage the data sharing project, and seek clarity on whether the peer worker project will proceed.

“We will also be turning our minds to the 2023-24 State Budget, in the knowledge that the government has previously committed to the funding establishment of an independent organisation to represent Tasmanians with a lived experience of alcohol and other drugs next year,” she said.

“This is the number one priority in the Tasmanian Government’s Reform Agenda, it is the number one priority for our members and it is imperative that this additional investment is secured.”

Carers Tasmania

It is pleasing to see continued support and investment into mental health for adults of all ages and adolescents, along with the Alcohol and Drug Reform Agenda and commitments for a specialised eating disorder treatment centre.

Investment into the initiatives of the Child Youth and Wellbeing Strategy and additional supports proposed for Tasmanian schools such as safeguarding officers and additional Psychologists and Social workers are applauded.

“Out of 80,000 informal carers in Tasmania, 11.6% are aged under 25. Carers Tasmania estimates that 1:15 school aged students are a carer.”

“While we are disappointed that the state’s budget has not supported our funding requests, we are hopeful that next year’s budget will address and implement initiatives to support family and friend carers.”

“However, there has been some good news in terms of ongoing investment into the health system, mental health and broadly ageing and disability which will, in turn, support those for whom our carers care” said David Brennan, CEO, Carers Tasmania.

Carers Tasmania welcomes the Government’s move toward establishing a Disability Commissioner, further investments into the NDIS, and continued support for older Tasmanians through funding for COTA’s Active Ageing Plan.

The Budget commits important additional investments into health, such as hospital upgrades and redevelopments, paired with additional state-wide paramedics and programs such as PACER which provide some reassurance. In addition, it is pleasing to note the focus on improving end-of-life care.
Carers Tasmania also acknowledges support for implementing the Tasmanian Women’s Strategy over the next four years as it is estimated that females account for 41,400 (51.7%) of the more than 80,000 carers in Tasmania.2

It is pleasing to see continued support and investment into mental health for adults of all ages and adolescents, along with the Alcohol and Drug Reform Agenda and commitments for a specialised eating disorder treatment centre.

Investment into the initiatives of the Child Youth and Wellbeing Strategy and additional supports proposed for Tasmanian schools such as safeguarding officers and additional Psychologists and Social workers are applauded.

“Out of 80,000 informal carers in Tasmania, 11.6% are aged under 25. Carers Tasmania estimates that 1:15 school aged students are a carer.”

“While we are disappointed that the state’s budget has not supported our funding requests, we are hopeful that next year’s budget will address and implement initiatives to support family and friend carers.”

Council on the Ageing (COTA) Tasmania

Tasmania’s peak advocacy body for older Tasmanians – COTA Tasmania – has welcomed news of ongoing funding of $1.245 million over four years for its key projects in today’s State Budget.

Four-year funding has been announced for COTA Tasmania to continue delivering the popular annual Seniors Week program, now in its 24th year; and to also continue implementing a range of strategic activities that align with the current and future iterations of the Tasmanian Government’s Active Ageing Plan. 

COTA is currently undertaking a government-funded community consultation, which is reviewing the Plan.

Two-year funding was also announced in the Budget to support COTA’s highly regarded current activities in the development and implementation of resources to support workplaces to have specific anti-ageism policies and procedures, along with strategies to retain and manage older workers as they approach retirement.

COTA Tasmania CEO Sue Leitch says it’s pleasing to see the State Government’s continued acknowledgement of older Tasmanians via the ongoing funding of these important projects undertaken by COTA on behalf of the Government. However, we will continue to seek discussions with the State Government on ways to improve digital access for older Tasmanians. It is an area of high need that people have been supported by COTA Tasmania in the past and consists of targeted one on one peer support. Our discussions to date have been promising and we hope to expand our work in the area soon. 

“Tasmanians deserve to enjoy older age, whether still working or retired,” says Ms Leitch.

“We congratulate the State Government for valuing older people living in Tasmania by assisting COTA, as the state’s peak advocate for older Tasmanians, to continue our important work in Active Ageing, workforce participation and Seniors Week.

Family Violence and Sexual Assault Specialist Support Services

Family violence and sexual assault specialist support services welcome the funding of our services, particularly the extension of funding to allow for five-year contracts, which are crucial for long-term business planning, the longevity of programs, and security for organisations and communities.

Although we are disappointed not to have received our requested funding for a dedicated coordination and policy officer in relation to family and sexual violence services, we remain committed to working towards funding for this essential role. We will also work strategically with our member organisations to ensure the voice of our community, particularly those with lived experience, is heard and reflected in Government policy and initiatives. 

With the Government committed to a range of actions to prevent and respond to family and sexual violence and work towards gender equality in coming years, as a sector we look forward to forming stronger collaborations with the government to ensure community based, specialist services and people with lived experience inform these actions.

Mental Health Council of Tasmania

MHCT welcomes the investment in mental health and wellbeing, including $20.5 million for older persons mental health, and continuing investment in ongoing reforms as part of Rethink 2020 and the bilateral agreement between State and Federal Governments.

However, given the absence of any specific workforce initiatives in this budget, in a sector which is already struggling to attract and retain qualified mental health professionals, we are concerned we won’t have the skilled workforce needed to deliver on these announcements.

Women’s Health Tasmania

Women’s Health Tasmania expressed its disappointment at the Tasmanian Government’s first effort at a Gender Impact Statement.

“What was meant to be an analysis of Government income and expenditure to help build gender equality was just a list of initiatives that loosely relate to people on the basis of their gender,” said the CEO of Women’s Health Tasmania, Jo Flanagan.

“If there is a plan to build on this it’s not explained in the Budget papers. The Government needs to engage with the community about how it is going to build its gender impact statement framework, and what the outcome look like.”

Shelter Tasmania

Shelter Tas is the peak body for housing and homelessness in Tasmania, representing all Tasmania’s funded specialist homelessness services and community housing providers.

“With our community facing cost of living pressures, and escalating housing costs, and over 40,000 households managing the stress of high rents in the tight and competitive private rental market, we welcome the State Government’s continued investment in affordable housing in today’s Budget. Investment in social and affordable housing is the foundation for building our community,” Shelter Tas CEO, Pattie Chugg said.

“Our state’s nation-leading investment in social housing delivered by community housing providers assists many Tasmanians with the homes they need, and together with the Government we recognise that there is more to be done. There is still a need to boost that essential supply, and deliver a Housing First approach.

“This year, we have seen increasing demand for affordable homes, with the waiting list for social housing pass 4,400 applications, and 46 people a day being turned away from homelessness services. There is every sign that housing stress and homelessness are continuing to increase across Tasmania.

“The $1.5 Billion package to build and acquire 10,000 homes by 2032 reflects the Shelter Tas budget ask for 1,000 homes per year. Shelter Tas hopes this important announcement will contribute substantially to boosting the supply of social housing from the current level of 6.2% to 10% of all dwellings, to ensure all Tasmanians have the safe and affordable home they need.

“It is positive to see the increase in both capital and recurrent funding, with an increase in the capital funding to $538 million, which is $142 million more than allocated in last years budget. We are pleased to see the investment in bricks and mortar is accompanied by the essential dollars for running these services, to cover staffing and the costs of supporting vulnerable clients to achieve independence.

 “Our submission to this year’s State Budget Process emphasised that in 2022, with accelerating cost of living pressures and an affordable housing crisis, it is vital to ensure investment in social and affordable housing products, as well as targeted strategies for specific population groups that are vulnerable,” Ms Chugg said.

The Shelter Tas Budget Submission is available at https://sheltertas.org.au/shelter-tas-submission-to-the-state-government-budget-process-2022-23/

“Funding for the Safe Spaces in Hobart ($3.06M), Launceston ($1.9M) and Burnie ($1.9M) totalling $6.9M across the state is very welcome, but provides operational funding for only one year. We would like to see an ongoing commitment to these services because the need for this essential safety net will not disappear in one year’s time,” Ms Chugg said.

“In the North West, we are pleased to see $2.5 million operational funding for the new 8 unit Devonport Men’s Shelter. The Youth to Independence centres in Burnie and Hobart will receive $3.2M over two years.

“There is $16 million committed for the establishment of supported accommodation facilities for older Tasmanians in the North and North West. This fills a much-needed gap identified by our members, and will build on the success of the Wintringham aged care model in the South, providing homes for the increasing numbers of older Tasmanians experiencing homelessness.

“Women and women with children are some of the hardest hit by housing hardship, and it is time for a dedicated women’s housing strategy to address their specific needs. Shelter Tas has called for this strategy in our Budget Submission, and we hope that the Hon Guy Barnett MP, Minister for Housing will initiate the development of a Women’s Housing Strategy.

“More women than men seek assistance from specialist homelessness services, and family violence is the number one reason that women and their children ask for help. We know that one women’s shelter is turning away 8 out of 10 women seeking assistance, which means that women who may be survivors of family violence are forced to couch surf, live in their cars, or make do in hostels or short-term hotel rooms. More women live in poverty, and older women are the fastest growing group of people facing the risk of homelessness and presenting to our member services.

“It is important to identify funding opportunities in the Budget. The obvious and yet untapped source is the stamp duty (conveyancing duty) that comes from the increasing value in Tasmania’s housing market, which last year was a windfall of $48.5M more than expected in last year’s Budget, and this year will be $49.9M more than budgeted. The additional stamp duty income can be dedicated to much needed social housing and homelessness services, to build safe, inclusive thriving communities across the state. Every house and every dollar counts when so many people are missing out,” Ms Chugg said.

Of concern in this year’s budget is the low indexation rate of only 2.5%, substantially lower than inflation, and this will impose significant challenges to services over the coming year.

“The housing policies of the new Federal Labor Government elected this week pave the way for new partnerships and efficiencies with the state government in the year ahead. Shelter Tas anticipates opportunities for new social housing supply and home ownership products that will complement the existing programs in Tasmania. We encourage both levels of government to work closely with the community housing providers who will continue to be front and centre of the expansion of affordable rental housing in our state,” Ms Chugg said.

Youth Network of Tasmania

We are pleased the Rockliff Government is backing Tasmania’s children and young people in today’s budget.

We are especially pleased to see funding for young people aged 18-25 years as they transition to adulthood. This funding is the next step in appropriately responding to the unique needs of this group and will ensure they are not left behind as they move towards independence in our COVID affected world.

This group is often lost as they transition from services aimed at children to services built for adults and we’re looking forward to speaking with young Tasmanians aged 18 to 25 years to develop appropriate supports so they can go out into the world and live the lives they want to.

This funding is in addition to that already promised to resource the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy Action Plan and the substantial funding announced on Tuesday for Safeguarding Officers in our schools, which we also welcome.