What does the federal election result mean for social services? Fr Frank Brennan, Chief Executive of Catholic Social Services Australia, has highlighted several new government policies of particular interest.
National Disability Insurance Scheme
The Morrison government has committed to:
The rollout of new NDIS participant planning pathways – making sure people with disability have a single point of contact with the NDIS, and can choose to be on a longer NDIS plan of up to 3 years if their disability is stable.
Expand the NDIS community connectors program to support and assist hard to reach communities – including Indigenous Australians, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities and ageing parents of children with disability – to navigate the NDIS and get the services they or their children need.
Introduce a new NDIS Participant Service Guarantee – setting new standards for shorter timeframes for people with disability to get an NDIS plan and to have their plan reviewed, with a particular focus on children, and participants requiring specialist disability accommodation (SDA) and assistive technology.
Develop a national disability information gateway ($45 million), including a website and 1800 number, to assist all people with disability and their families to locate and access services in their communities.
Introduce a new 7 per cent employment target for people with disability across the Australian Public Service (APS) by 2025.
Provide $2 million to support people with autism to find and keep a job, including a $1.5 million national expansion of the successful Dandelion Program in partnership with DXC Technology.
Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
The Morrison Government’s 2019 Budget included more than $500 million for their Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan. The funding also includes $19.6 million for measures to prevent Indigenous youth suicide, particularly in the Kimberley and a funding boost for the Headspace network.
The Government has committed to investing an additional $5 million in a dedicated Accelerator Support Program to assist first generation migrants looking to develop a start-up business. A further $10 million has been committed to create a dedicated network of Aged Care System Navigators to assist people from CALD backgrounds and their families in navigating the aged care system.
The Government has committed to:
Invest $3.9 billion in the Future Drought Fund to prepare for future droughts. The Fund will grow to $5 billion over the next decade and enable investment of $100 million per year in water infrastructure and drought resilience.
Continue to ensure the Farm Household Allowance is fit for purpose, making the $5m farm assets test for Farm Household Allowance permanent.
Create a new restocking and replanting concessional loan through the Regional Investment Corporation.
Establish a $7 million Drought Communities Small Business Support Program’
Provide extra support by providing $1 million each to an additional 14 local council areas experiencing severe drought through the Drought Communities Program’
The additional funding outside the budget is around $36.4 million.
There is isn’t much in the housing space, other than a commitment by the Government to establish a First Home Loan Deposit Scheme.
The scheme effectively allows eligible first home buyers to access the housing market with less than a 20% deposit and not being charged a bank imposed mortgage insurance.
The government has committed to offering loan guarantees for first home buyers so they can buy their first home with a cash deposit of only 5% of the purchase price.