15 Jun 2018
This is a great budget for caring families, with roughly a third of the ACT Government’s total budget spending focused on health.
Here’s a useful summary of the main initiatives that will make a positive impact on caring families.
ACT BUDGET 2018 – What’s in it for Carers
We are very happy to see that this year’s ACT Budget will deliver a substantial $7.8 billion boost over the next four years (about one third of the total budget spend) to health and hospital services, with particular emphasis on mental health and disability services, public hospital upgrades and more frontline staff.
The following list summarises the government initiatives we feel will have a positive impact on caring families.
- ACT Carers Strategy 2018-2028: Ongoing support and commitment to the ACT Carers Strategy that recognises and supports the important role that carers play in our community. The Government is working with community organisations and carers to develop the first three-year action plan to deliver the priority initiatives of this Strategy. See copy of the Strategy here.
- More support for people with chronic illness: $500,000 to help patients better navigate our health system, particularly those who experience poor chronic health, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans, people living with disability and the elderly.
- Calvary Public Hospital Upgrade: $15 million to expand the Emergency Department, refurbish mental health inpatient facilities and replace critical diagnostic equipment.
- Canberra Hospital upgrade: $47 million for more acute care (including the Emergency Department and the Intensive Care Unit) and more hospital beds. This will bring down emergency department wait times.
- Helping GP inform patients: supporting the HealthPathways service so GPs can provide information to patients. More surgeries and less wait time: increasing capacity for elective and emergency surgeries to 14,000 per year (1000 extra per yer) by employing 29 new doctors and nurses.
- Weston Creek Walk in Centre: constructing the Weston Creek Walk in Centre (to open in 2019). The new Gungahlin Walk in Centre will open late 2018.
- Expanding Hospital in the Home: expanding funding so that 3,000 more patients per year can be cared for in their own homes and through community health centres.
- Strengthening health services at the Alexander Maconochie Centre: expanding frontline health services at the Alexander Maconochie Centre, particularly dental, mental health and general practice services.
- Surgical Procedures, Interventional Radiology and Emergency Centre (SPIRE): planning a $420 million Surgical Procedures, Interventional Radiology and Emergency (SPIRE) Centre to be based at the Canberra Hospital.
- North side health care: scoping study for a new hospital in north Canberra.
- Early planning to expand alcohol and drug services: developing options for future service models for alcohol and drug withdrawal and early intervention to increase service delivery.
- More training and employment opportunities: expanding the ACT Public Service Inclusion Employment Program to support, develop and retain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and LGBTIQ people as well as people with disability within the ACT Public Service. More support for mature aged workers and $1,000 grants to help women to return to the workforce (particularly women on low incomes, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, culturally and linguistically diverse women or mothers with disability).
- Establishing the Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund: allocating $5 million to support Canberrans most in need, to be managed by Hands Across Canberra.
- Supporting SHOUT: $469,000 to support Self Help Organisations United Together (SHOUT) to ensure it can continue to assist and build capacity for self-help groups in the ACT.
- Flexible payment options: offering flexible payment options for customers, including cashless payment methods, at Access Canberra.
- Savings for low income households: continuing to provide low cost transport services and household energy savings by delivering energy saving items to ACT households.
- Improved energy efficiency for public housing: providing energy efficient upgrades to public housing properties to help tenants reduce their power bills.
ABORIGINAL & TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS
- New health centre: constructing a new $12 million new health centre for the Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service to provide high quality, culturally appropriate services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- Training and Apprenticeships: supporting apprenticeships and traineeships for 714 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
FOSTER & KINSHIP CARE
- Adoption and permanency: providing new dedicated resources for legal services within Child and Youth Protection and the Justice and the Community Safety Directorate to improve the adoption and permanency process for vulnerable children.
- Child and Youth Protection Review: Reviewing the circumstances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people involved with the statutory child protection system to address the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out of home care.
- 24 hour supported accommodation for people with mental illness: establishing three community-based mental health accommodation facilities to provide long-term 24 hour supported care for people with severe, enduring, and complex needs.
- New Step-Up-Step-Down facility: developing a facility on the south side of Canberra, to provide up to three months short-term residential and clinical treatment for people discharged from hospital.
- Brian Hennessey Rehabilitation Centre: refurbishing the 10-bed Extended Care Unit to help provide a secure facility for people to transition back into the community.
- Adult mental health unit: Refurbishing the adult mental health unit at Calvary Hospital.
- Expanded support for headspace: providing early intervention counselling mental health services for 12 to 25 year olds and delivering educational initiatives promoting well-being for young people.
- Establishment of an ACT Recovery College: providing non-clinical mental health training courses that support early intervention, to facilitate experience-based learning and support.
- Supporting mental health for people leaving prison: extending the Mental Health Detention Exit Community Outreach program which provides treatment and support services to assist people leaving detention and re-establishing themselves in the community.
- More mental health outreach for young Canberrans: establishing a recovery-focused, community-based outreach program for young Canberrans aged 12 to 18 years and developing a young adult model of care for people aged 18 to 25 years.
- More mental health services for older Canberrans: expanding the Older Persons Mental Health Intensive Treatment Service to provide additional mental health support in residential aged care facilities and help to keep patients out of hospital.
- Stronger support for suicide prevention: supporting the Way Back Support Service, which provides proactive after care support for people who have attempted suicide during a period of high risk and vulnerability.
- New Office for Mental Health: establishing a dedicated Office to improve the mental wellbeing of Canberrans.
- Needs-based funding for students with disability: $23 million over four years to support students with disability and complex health needs. Funding for extra nurses into classrooms to help those with complex health issues such as diabetes or renal failure throughout the school day.
- More school psychologists: 15 extra school psychologists.
- NDIS Transition Integrated Service Response: providing emergency funding for people with disability with high and complex support needs not met by the NDIS, and additional funding for individual advocacy services.
- Growing the Disability Inclusion Grants Program: expanding the program to support community groups, organisations and small businesses to become more inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities. Available grants to increase to $100,000.
- Supporting students with disability: $23.2 million to support students with disability, including apprenticeships and traineeships for 1,910 students with disability.
- Disability Justice Strategy: developing a strategy to support people with disability to ensure equal treatment before the law and in accessing the justice system (note: free public consultation on this topic to be held Wed 7 Jul 12-2pm at Tuggeranong Community Centre).
- Flexible public transport: continuing to operate a flexible transport service to meet the needs of passengers who currently have difficulty using fixed route public transport services.
- Supporting veterans and seniors: increasing funding for grant programs and an ACT Public Service employment program for veterans.
- Preventing and responding to elder abuse: establishing a Seniors Rights Service as part of the Legal Aid Commission to provide legal services to older Canberrans who are experiencing, or are vulnerable to, elder abuse.
- Aged care services: $3 million boost to continue the Older Persons Mental Health Intensive Treatment Service.
- Helping with cost of living: expanding the General Rates Aged Deferral Scheme to help seniors with their cost of living which allows them to delay paying rates until they sell their home. Also increasing utilities concessions by $50 from 1 July 2018.
- Free off-peak travel for pensioners: free off-peak bus (and light rail) travel to be extended for another 12 months.
- More accessible suburbs: delivering pedestrian upgrades to Page and Hughes to create more accessible age friendly suburbs to allow people to stay active and engaged in the community.
- Making Canberra more LGBTIQ friendly: establishing a $400,000 annual community grants scheme to increase LGBTIQ visibility and inclusion. Increasing focus on the mental health and wellbeing of intersex, transgender and gender diverse Canberrans, including expanding the trial of a treatment to protect against HIV.