NTCOSS Pre-Budget Submission 2016-2017
NTCOSS is a peak body for the community sector in the NT and is a voice for people affected by social and economic disadvantage and inequality. The community sector in the NT is made up of community managed, non-government, not for profit organisations who work in social and community service delivery, sector development and advocacy.
The community sector plays a vital role in creating social wellbeing for all Territorians and in building safe and healthy communities by providing services that enable people to access and participate in health services, education, employment, economic development, and family and community life.
We welcome the NT Government’s ‘Strong Society, Confident Culture Strategy’ as a framework for the future. NTCOSS has provided feedback on the draft. Some of the areas we have highlighted in this Pre Budget Submission have been highlighted in the NTCOSS Strong Society submission. Some have also been highlighted in previous PBS documents. At the core of all of our submissions is the need to invest now to change outcomes now and into the future for many vulnerable Territorians.
Change is not achievable without recognition that we are currently failing to meet the needs of so many, especially Aboriginal Territorians. The figures are stark and confronting – the NT has the highest rate of homelessness especially youth homelessness (this is around one in ten young people), we incarcerate more people (including Aboriginal people), the highest rate of teenage pregnancy, there are currently over nine hundred children and young people in out of home care (around 85% of these are Aboriginal) and we drink more alcohol per capita than anyone else in Australia.
If we are to truly ‘Develop the North’ and have a Strong Society where everyone can enjoy social participation, then we must ensure that we grow the NT fairly and ensure everybody reaps benefits from new projects and policies.