They waited through the Golden Age budget — and they got this (The Mercury Talking Point, 24/05/19)
Government fails Tasmanians despite Premier’s pledge to share prosperity, says Kym Goodes.
BUDGETS are a message from governments to the community about what it sees as most important, most worthy of investment. And the State Government’s budget message to Tasmanians this year could not be clearer.
This government values investing in infrastructure over investing in people. For five years now this government has seen infrastructure spending as the panacea. They keep telling us that building things will create jobs and help deliver better essential services. If that is so then why are so many Tasmanians increasingly being left behind? Why are so many Tasmanians missing out on the opportunity to get a job and have a good life?
Minister for Building and Construction Sarah Courtney this week celebrated Tasmania recording “the strongest growth in the construction and building sector in the year to March 2019”. If that is so then why is Tasmania’s unemployment rate still disproportionately high? Local people are not getting local jobs because the Government is not investing enough in the supports that people need.
The Government’s own numbers tell the story of the past five years for many Tasmanians. There are decreasing numbers of Tasmanians enrolling in TasTAFE and VET training (63,400 in 2015 vs 54,100 in 2017). More Tasmanian children are in out-of-home care (1,054 in 2013-14 vs 1,310 in 2018-19). There are now 3,233 Tasmanians waiting on the housing register (vs 2,054 in 2013-14) and the wait time for priority applicants (including those fleeing domestic violence) has increased from 19 weeks in 2013-14 to 56 weeks in 2018-19.
Focusing investment in infrastructure is not solving these complex, entrenched social challenges in our community. A long-term, strategic investment is needed. And the Premier promised this in his State of the State Address in March. He committed to a “plan for strategic growth” including:
“INVESTING so more Tasmanians, across every region, can share in our state’s prosperity.”
“BREAK[ING] down the barriers to the greatest enabler of social inclusion — education, training and the opportunity of a good job.”
“FIND those ways to ensure all Tasmanians are feeling the benefits of a strong economy, and that no one is left behind.”
In the Treasurer’s Budget we see more of the same. The Government keeps throwing money in the same direction, hoping that something will change. But the truth is, if we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always get what we’ve always got. Tasmanians doing it tough have been patient. The 17,000 job-seekers have waited.
They’ve waited through tourism budgets and infrastructure budgets. They’ve waited through the “golden age” budget that has not yet improved their lives. And this year they are being asked to wait yet again.
Tasmanians have waited and waited for a budget that invests directly in them. A budget that prioritises supporting the ability of every Tasmanian to participate in work, education and the Tasmanian way of life, not just a crisis investment for those needing acute care or intensive support. They have been waiting for a direct investment to help 120,000 men, women and children in Tasmania who live in poverty, be able to live a good life.
We can and should invest in the hard infrastructure but if we don’t also support local people to take up the jobs that creates then we’re not ensuring the prosperity can be shared. We need strategic investment to address the barriers that get in the way of getting a job and having a good life. Strategic investment to address inflexible and unaffordable public transport that can’t get people where they need to go and when they need to be there.
We need investment to ensure all Tasmanians have a place to call home and don’t have to resort to living in shipping containers or cars.
We need better support for people who struggle to read and write so they can have the basic skills they need to be able to get a job and keep it.
Over the past five years the quality of life has got worse for many Tasmanians. This should not happen in times of economic growth. We need to invest strategically now to unlock the potential that is dormant in our communities and make sure no one is left behind.
Kym Goodes is chief executive of the Tasmanian Council of Social Service (TasCOSS).
2021 State Election Priorities — Adrienne’s enews Message (8 April 2021)
The 2021 State Election sees Tasmania poised at a pivotal juncture, a time when our economic and social recovery from COVID-19 hinges on decisive actions from our government. TasCOSS challenges the next political leaders of Tasmania to recognise and address the needs of Tasmanians in shaping this future.
From Emergency Food Relief to Food Security Discussion Paper
Emergency food relief needs to be seen as part of the broader food system. In some ways, the need for emergency food relief in communities is a sign of failures in that system. Transitioning away from emergency food relief in Tasmania requires attention to and resourcing of building a food system that ensures all Tasmanians have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
The Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council (PESRAC) Final Report makes a wide range of recommendations that could help ensure thousands of Tasmanians have the support and opportunities they need to live a good life after COVID-19.
MEDIA RESPONSE: Tasmanian Liberal’s Local Jobs For Local People policy announcement
The Tasmanian Liberal’s election commitment to establish additional local job hubs and expand the Northern Employment and Youth Connectors pilot for existing job hubs is a welcome step towards improving job outcomes in our state.
Paltry Rate of JobSeeker a Handbrake on our Social and Economic Recovery — Adrienne’s enews Message (19 March 2021)
Yesterday’s decision by the Morrison Government to pass the JobSeeker bill without amendment and return 30,000 of our fellow Tasmanians to life below the poverty line at the end of March was both callous and short-sighted, writes Adrienne Picone.
The proposed Bail Bill 2021 represents an alarming departure from the human rights-based and long-standing legal principle that bail should be granted as the default, with only limited circumstances justifying refusal. If enacted, it will disproportionately affect people who are already in vulnerable circumstances and will place yet more pressure on a criminal justice system that is already under strain.
Legislative Council Inquiry into Rural Health Services
Our vision and recommendations for Tasmania’s statewide health care system focus on digital inclusion as an enabler of telehealth and other remote health care delivery systems, and the growing need to engage in meaningful consumer and community consultation to inform current and ongoing performance and reforms.
TasCOSS welcomes the clear commitment to Tasmania’s renewable energy future laid out in the framework. We support the aspiration to partner with communities to ensure mutual benefits for all stakeholders concerned with and impacted by the actions under the framework, and for all Tasmanians more broadly.
Senate Inquiry into Social Services Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Income Support) Bill 2021
TasCOSS believes that the proposed new rate of JobSeeker and related payments will, just like the former Newstart payment, trap people in poverty and make it more difficult for them to engage in education, training and employment.
Celebrating the Achievements of Women Working in the Community Services Industry — Adrienne’s enews Message (4 March 2021)
As we prepare to mark International Women’s Day on Monday and off the back of what was a very challenging year, it is important to pause, reflect and recognise the long-standing contributions of women working in our industry, who through their work have improved the lives of Tasmanians.
Congratulations to Jami Bladel and Sarai Lawson who were recognised as inspirational and aspiring leaders in our industry at the International Women’s Day awards virtual event on Thursday 4 March 2021.
TasCOSS are excited to announce several fully funded scholarships for those working in CHSP are available to participate in Change Your Impact 2021. These scholarships meet the full cost of participation $638 (incl. GST).
Community Services Leadership Course CHSP Scholarship
TasCOSS are excited to announce several fully funded scholarships are available for those working in CHSP to participate in the Community Services Leadership Course. These scholarships meet the full cost of participation $990 (incl. GST).
Across years of consultations around the state, Tasmanians have told TasCOSS that health — physical and mental — is the most important component of a good life. Throughout our consultations, one phrase has emerged again and again: ‘health is everything.’
An important element of child safe organisations is the need to create organisational cultures that foster child safety and wellbeing. TasCOSS welcomes any measures that will improve the safety and wellbeing of Tasmanian children. We believe, however, that the Bill is inadequate in establishing a framework for child safe organisations.