A Budget for fairness and sustainability: ACT Greens

Shane Rattenbury, MLA and Caroline Le Couteur, MLA

The ACT Greens today welcomed the ACT Budget’s commitments towards fairness and sustainability.

“From the Greens perspective this Budget takes another important step towards making Canberra the most sustainable and fair place in Australia,” Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury said today.

The Greens are here to make the ACT the most green and progressive place in the country, and to value the environment and to value people. Without Greens in the Assembly these issues would be discounted or disregarded.

“This Budget also marks a decade of strong Greens influence in the ACT Government. The Greens have influenced and improved ACT Budgets, policies and initiatives since entering into power sharing arrangements with ACT Labor.

“Progress on critical issues like climate change, light rail, and a new focus on mental health and justice reform, would simply not have happened without the Greens here in the Assembly.”

“The ACT Greens have now spent a decade pushing for progressive policies, protesting bad policies, putting big issues on the agenda, bringing the community’s voices to the Assembly, and securing better outcomes through our campaigns and through three Parliamentary Agreements,” said Caroline Le Couteur MLA.

“The Greens support is contingent on these policy achievements. This year’s budget continues to progress Canberra to be a more fair and sustainable city, recognising key Parliamentary Agreement items related to sustainable transport, youth and mental health, and our local environment and climate change.”

“I am also pleased to see a number of items that Shane Rattenbury and I have called for through our regular Private Members Business have been achieved in this year’s budget. These include: a vacancy tax - for investment or rental homes sitting vacant; funding for the preparation of sites for demonstration housing; extending the General Rates Aged Deferral Scheme; investment in new recreation trails; and more investment in trees as a start towards addressing the heat island effect,” said Ms Le Couteur.

“The Greens also welcome investments in growing services in our growing city, particularly in health, public transport and active travel.”

Although welcoming today’s Budget, the Greens identified housing investment, as well as further significant investments in climate change adaptation and mitigation, as the next major challenges facing the Territory.

Key Greens achievements in this year’s ACT Budget, as a result of the Parliamentary Agreement include:

 

Portfolio

Funding announcement

Labor-Greens 9th Parliamentary Agreement

Action to improve Canberrans’ health and access to health care

·         $1.3m to provide more counsellors at headspace (BP3, p.115)

·         $2.1m to provide mental health outreach for young Canberrans (BP3, p.116)

PA Item 1.2c (more mental health support for young people)

 

$34.5m to expand the Hospital in the Home program
(BP3, p. 115)

PA Item 1.6. ‘… Expanding Hospital in the Home’

 

$11.3m to construct a new health clinic for Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service

PA Item 1.5. ‘… Building a new health clinic for Winnunga Nimmityjah Health Service’

 

$2m to continue Canberra’s fourth Walk in Centre in the Weston Creek region

PA Item 1.1. ‘Design, construct and commence… nurse walk-in centre… in Weston Creek’

Supporting our schools and higher education

Needs-based funding for students with disability (BP3, p. 104)

PA Item 2.1: supporting Gonski funding

 

$7.3M to deliver 15 more school psychologists (BP3, p.102)

PA Item 2.3b (more school psychologists and strengthening community counselling services for children and young people)

 

$9.2 to progress measures arising from the Future of Education community conversation, including initiatives to build teacher capacity in literacy and numeracy and support a new teacher mentoring program.

PA item 2.5: …, implement a coaching and mentoring model to build teaching capacity

Building an integrated transport network

$13.35M for Light Rail stage 1 operational funding and Stage 2 further planning and design work

PA Item 3.1 of 2016 Agreement, as well as continued investment to implement Light Rail Stage 1 as per 2012 PA

 

$1.1M for continued funding for flexible public transport

PA Item 3.3 - expanding the reach and accessibility of the flexible bus service

 

Significant new investment in active transport infrastructure and initiatives

PA Item 3.7 -  $30 million in additional priority footpath maintenance, cycling and walking route upgrades, and age-friendly suburb improvements in our shopping centres and existing suburbs

 

Adopt World Health Organisation Health Economic Assessment Tool to support walking and cycling investment.

PA Item 3.8 - Adopt HEAT

Improving social housing and housing affordability

·         $6.5 million for 36 more crisis accommodation places, particularly for families seeking shelter.

·          $4.5m for new housing for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans (BP3, p.159).

·         $500k of Housing Innovation Fund money towards affordable rental properties for families escaping DV and for specialist disability accommodation (BP3, p.112).

PA Item 4.9: ‘Strengthen specialist homelessness and housing support services… for vulnerable groups’

 

$775k for innovation in housing choices - funding to support community and industry stakeholders on the redevelopment of housing products that demonstrate innovative planning and design (BP3, p.112).

Contributing to PA items 4.2 (deliver more affordable housing options) and 4.4 (innovation fund to support new approaches to affordable housing)

 

$200k to undertake further work to develop MyHome in Canberra

PA Item 4.7- work with community… to build accommodation for people with mental health and housing concerns

 

Extending OneLink’s opening hours (BP3, p.121).

PA Item 4.11. ‘Expand after hours and weekend intake… to homelessness services’

Protecting the environment and mitigating climate change

·         $6m to extend the ACT Government’s ACTsmart programs.

·         $6m to deliver energy efficient upgrades to approximately 2,200 public housing properties to help tenants to reduce their power bills, use energy more efficiently and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

·         $456k to install 50 new electric vehicle charging stations at ACT Government sites.

PA Item 6 - combating human-induced climate change

 

Pest plant and animal funding – two additional rangers and more habitat management

PA Item 6.8. ‘Develop a four year program to deliver weed and pest animal control’

 

Feasibility study for eight micro parks

PA Item 6.5 - Roll out microparks

 

$9.1M towards further waste management regulatory reforms

PA Item 6.10 - implement key finding of Waste Feasibility Study

Making our community even stronger and more inclusive

·         $6m to continue the Intensive Corrections Order Scheme together with $1m funding for the High Density Housing Community and Safety Program

·         $406k to continue the Detention Exit Community Outreach Program

PA Item 7.5: ‘goal of reducing recidivism by 25% by 2025, including a Drug and Alcohol Court and other support programs’

 

$625k additional funding for development of a dedicated Alcohol and Drug Court in the ACT

PA Item 7.5. ‘Establish a Drug and Alcohol Court and associated support programs’

 

$1.8 million to establish NDIS Transition Integrated Service Response Program

PA Item 7.2: ‘New policy unit to support and monitor NDIS rollout ’

 

$200k to expand Disability Inclusion Grants program

PA Item 7.2: ‘Create… (a) resourced Disability Reference Group’

Emergency services and law reform

·         $2.6m to recruit 4 new specialist positions 

·         $332k for an additional recruit colleague to train 18 new firefighters for ACT Fire and Rescue.

·         $270k to provide new protective helmets to ACT Fire and Rescue.

PA Item 11.1: ‘Progress jointly-committed investment in fire-fighting equipment, personnel and facilities’