We welcome the release of the NT Budget today that continues the commitment to key reform areas including alcohol, early childhood, remote housing and the implementation of the NT Royal Commission recommendations.
We are pleased that the NT Government has not significantly reduced funding to support those who are doing it tough in tight financial times. However, if we are to make the generational changes that this Government has committed to do, then more resources are required.
We welcome the increase in funding to expand youth diversion programs through Back on Track, which supports a range of initiatives that particularly target Palmerston and Alice Springs, including night patrols and youth drop-in centres.
“We can’t lose sight of the reasons behind the very recent Royal Commission into the failures of our youth justice and child protection systems and the urgency for substantial reform. The implementation cannot be achieved without significant investment’ said NTCOSS Executive Director, Wendy Morton.
We welcome the continued commitment for the Concessions Scheme, however we remain disappointed that those on Newstart and Youth Allowance still cannot access the scheme.
The recent Budget Repair Plan included a 1% cut for ‘frontline’ agencies and a 3% cut for all other NT agencies. We are deeply disappointed at the inclusion of housing and homelessness as a non-frontline agency, meaning that already stretched housing and homelessness services will have to wear a 3% funding cut. Today was a missed opportunity for the Treasurer to reverse this decision.
The Treasurer today spoke of being confident about the economy growing and the need to target social as well as economic policy. As we go about the budget repair, we need to ensure that the NT Government maintains its commitment to supporting those in most need.