Queensland Pumps Billions into Social Services

By Andrew Heaton

(image via Civil Society: Dialogue for Progress)

Queensland has pumped billions of dollars into critical social services areas as the state moves to shore up votes ahead of next year’s state election.

Unveiling its State Budget for 2017, the Queensland government says it will spend billions helping out the state’s vulnerable citizens.

Specifically, the state says it will spend:

  • $1.37 billion on family and community services
  • $1.87 billion for disability services
  • $2 billion over ten years for more social and public housing.

In terms of community services, the additional money will go toward initiatives relating to ice, financial counselling, women shelters and family violence prevention.

The $1.887 billion in disability services will go toward supporting the National Disability Insurance Scheme as well as aids, equipment and vehicle modifications to assist people with disability, support for young people with disability leaving school, support for young adults with disability leaving care, support for those with spinal cord injuries to transition in the community.

Finally, the $2.1 billion over ten years will go toward a previously announced government commitment to construct at least 5,000 social and affordable homes.

Queensland Council of Social Services Chief Executive Officer Mark Henley welcomed the announcements, albeit whilst expressing some disappointment that more could not be done to prevent Queenslander’s falling into crisis.

“This funding will ensure no reduction in services and outcomes for Queenslanders experiencing vulnerability,” he said.

“Cost of living remains one of greatest pressures being faced by many Queenslanders today, and the government has worked tirelessly throughout this term to address it.”

But the State Opposition hit out and at the plan, claiming that the overall budget represented a con.

“This budget is a con – it is full of rubbery figures and accounting trickery,” Mr Nicholls said.

“What is more staggering is the fact the state’s debt will crack the $80 billion dollar mark for the first time in history, despite the $10 billion in raids and rip-offs that were the hallmark of Labor’s budget last year.

“What have they got to show for it? Nothing.”

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