Budget 2018 – Essential Services

Key Points

  • Personal and company tax cuts mean that future funding for essential services, including the NDIS, is at risk.
  • New money for continuity of support for people who are not eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is welcome.
  • Universal access to early education in the year before school (preschool funding) has been extended to 2019, but there remains no commitment to two days of subsidised early childhood education for all children.
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What’s in the Budget?

Community Services

  • Continuity of support for people who are not eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), but are currently receiving support under programs that are transitioning to the NDIS. (Cost $92.1 million over five years from 2017-18)
  • NDIS Jobs and Market Fund which will invest in targeted initiatives to promote the development of the market for the NDIS workforce. (Cost $64.3 million over four years from 2017-18)
  • A new Integrated Carer Support Services model to provide a range of early intervention and preventative services for carers. (already announced) (Cost $113.3 million over five years from 2017-18)
  • Domestic Violence initiatives, including Domestic Violence Response Training (DV-Alert) for community and frontline workers to support women and children affected by domestic and family violence and to enhance the capacity of 1800RESPECT (Cost $18.2 million total)
  • Building the capacity of the Australian Social Impact Investing sector by undertaking longitudinal studies and through the development of an impact framework aligning with the Australian Government principles for social impact investing. (Cost $6.7 million over four years from 2018-19)
  • Establishment of an expanded Social Impact Investing trial. This measure includes funding to evaluate the effectiveness of the trial. (Cost $1.6 million over three years from 2018-19)
  • Additional funding for the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), to meet the costs of anticipated litigation as the ACNC pursues its role in regulating charities and charity registration. (Cost $1.0 million in 2018-19)

Education

  • Extending the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education for the 2019 calendar year and undertaking the related National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection in early 2020. The extension will support 15 hours of preschool each week (600 hours per year) for a further cohort of children in the year before school. (Cost $441.6 million over two years from 2018-19)
  • Renewal of the National School Chaplaincy Programme. (Cost $247.0 million over four years from 2018-19)
  • Funding a range of projects under the Skilling Australians Fund which provides support for apprenticeships and traineeships. The projects will support growth in trade and non-trade apprenticeships and traineeships in target areas. (Cost $247.0 million over four years from 2018-19)
  • Additional Commonwealth supported places at the University of the Sunshine Coast, the University of Tasmania and Southern Cross University. (Cost $123.6 million over five years from 2017-18)
  • Implementing the Research Infrastructure Investment Plan (the Plan), informed by the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap. Implementing the Plan will involve partially funding specific national research infrastructure projects, with the Government’s contribution subject to co-investment being secured by project proponents. (Cost $1.9 billion over 12 years from 2017-18 ($393.3 million over five years))
  • Funding to support young people from regional, rural and remote communities to transition to further education, training and employment. (Cost $96.1 million over four years from 2018-19)
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Impacts on People

  • People currently receiving support who have not received an NDIS package will benefit from the continuity of support decision in this year’s budget.
  • Some children, particularly those in families receiving the Parenting Payment and who are not in paid work, will continue to miss out on two full days of subsidised early childhood education as the parental activity test continues to impact.
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Missing in Action

  • No action on ensuring that all children can access two days of subsidised early childhood education.
  • No restoration of the $1.5 billion in cuts to the community sector.
  • No social innovation framework in line with the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science agenda.
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ACOSS Commentary

ACOSS welcomes the continuity of support for people who are not eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), but are currently receiving support under programs that are transitioning to the NDIS. (Cost $92.1 million over five years from 2017-18). That said, personal and company tax cuts mean the future funding for essential services, including the NDIS, is at risk.

While extending the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education for the 2019 calendar year is also welcome, long term funding is still needed, and missing from this announcement is a commitment to ensuring that all children can access two days of subsidised early childhood education, regardless of parental activity.

The budget has also made no headway in restoring the $1.5 billion pa in cuts to the community sector implemented since the 2014 Budget. These cuts to essential services continue to impact on the people on the lowest incomes.

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