I am pleased to advise you that efforts aimed at securing an increase in baseline funding to replace the SaCS Supplementation when it runs out in the middle of next year has been achieved.
Both the Attorney-General’s and the Department of Social Services portfolios have committed funding to the family and relationships services sector for the next three years from 2021-2024 (see below). I know this does not deal with historical funding issues and/or issues around increased demand but we were looking to this Federal Budget to hand down a decision on this issue and it does appear that we have maintained funding at 2020/21 levels rather than face a diabolical funding cut if the decision did not go our way.
The Treasurer, the Attorney-General and the Minister for Social Services all made mention of our sector in their respective press releases acknowledging the vital role you serve in helping children, families and communities at particularly vulnerable times in their lives.
We have received the following advice from the Attorney-General’s Department and the Department of Social Services:
The Government will provide $87.3 million over three years from 2021-22 for Family Law Services. The amount committed is based on the SaCS Supplementation being paid to services in the final year of the Special Account and factors in some wage cost indexation.
Department of Social Services
The Government will provide $136.2 million over four years from 2020-21 for social services, including family and relationship services. A small portion of this has been applied in the current financial year, with approximately $43 million per year from 2021-22 to 2023-24. Of this, $27 million will be rolled into baseline funding for family and relationship services under the Families and Children Activity in 2021-22, with a slight increase across the following two years to accommodate wage indexation.
The services included under the Families and Children Activity are:
- Family and Relationship Services including:
- Specialised Family Violence Services
- Communities for Children Facilitating Partners
- Children and Parenting Support Services
- Reconnect Program
- Intensive Family Support Services
- National Find and Connect
In addition, there was a range of other measures announced on budget night that we highlight through the FRSA lens:
- Social Services
- Other budget announcements impacting on children, families and communities
- FRSA’s Media Release on the response to the Federal Budget
- Other Media Releases
Ongoing Funding for Frontline Social Services Impacted by the Cessation of the Social and Community Services Special Account
The Government will provide $132.6 million over four years from 2020-21 to deliver ongoing funding for frontline social services. These services support vulnerable Australians, including children and families in areas of entrenched socio economic disadvantage and people with disability.
An increase in base funding will be provided to:
- Commonwealth Financial Counselling Services and National Debt Helpline
- Financial Crisis and Material Aid: Emergency Relief services
- Family and Relationship Services Specialised Family Violence Services
- Communities for Children Facilitating Partners
- Children and Parenting Support Services
- Reconnect Program
- Intensive Family Support Services
- National Find and Connect
- Family Mental Health Support Services – Community Mental Health, Early Intervention for Children, Young People and their Families
- National Disability Advocacy Program.
Extension of Children and Parenting Support Services — Additional Services
The Government will provide $40.1 million over three years from 2021-22 to continue Children and Parenting Support Services — Additional Services on an ongoing basis. The CaPS Additional Service program operates as part of the broader CaPS program. This measure offers specialised early intervention and prevention support to at-risk children and families with complex needs, including culturally and linguistically diverse families and Indigenous families. (Additional fact sheet)
Extension of Funding for Financial Wellbeing and Capability Measures
The Government will provide $44.4 million over three years from 2021 22 (and $12.9 million per year ongoing) to continue Microfinance, Money Support Hubs and Problem Gambling Financial Counselling measures under the Financial Wellbeing and Capability activity. This measure provides funding for:
- no and low interest loan products, matched savings and microenterprise programs
- financial counselling, basic budgeting skills and financial education to eligible people in 33 Income Management and Cashless Debit Card locations
- specialist financial counsellors to work with problem gamblers and their families.
This measure extends the 2019 20 MYEFO measure titled Extension of Financial Wellbeing and Capability Measures.
Forced adoption support services
The Government will provide $6.1 million over three years from 2021-22 to continue the delivery of Forced Adoption Support Services, which provide specialist support to people affected by forced adoption.
National Memorial for Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse
The Government will provide $6.7 million over four years from 2020-21 to establish a National Memorial for victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse. The National Memorial will provide a place for healing, reflection and recognition of the victims, survivors and those affected by institutional child sexual abuse. This measure fulfils a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Supporting Families Impacted by Stillbirth
The Government will provide $7.6 million over four years from 2020 21 (and $1.2 million per year ongoing) to address inconsistencies in the support provided for families affected by stillbirth or by the loss of a child before their first birthday, irrespective of whether it is their first or subsequent claim.
This measure continues the support provided by Government for people affected by perinatal mental health challenges in the 2019 20 Budget measure titled Prioritising Mental Health — caring for our community.
Further information can be found in the press release of 27 September 2020 issued by the Minister for Families and Social Services.
Future National Redress Funding
The Government will provide an additional $104.6 million over four years from 2020‑21 to support the delivery of the National Redress Scheme and to support Independent Decision Makers in offering Redress.
This measure builds on the 2019‑20 MYEFO measure titled Addressing the Implementation Risks Associated with the National Redress Scheme.
Expediting Family Law and Federal Circuit Court Matters
The Government will provide $132.1 million over four years from 2020-21 to expedite the handling of family law matters and other matters in the Federal Circuit Court. This includes:
- $87.3 million over three years from 2021‑22 to maintain funding for family law services funded under the Family Relationship Services Program, following the cessation of the social and community services wage supplementation funding
- $35.7 million over four years from 2020‑21 in additional resources and judges for the Federal Circuit Court (FCC) to assist with the timely resolution of migration and family law matters
- $4.8 million in 2020‑21 for the Family Violence and Cross Examination of Parties Scheme, which helps protect victims of family violence in family law proceedings
- $1.8 million over four years from 2020‑21 to implement Federal Family Violence Orders under the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme
- $2.5 million in 2020‑21 for a new case management system for the Family Court of Western Australia.
Federal Circuit Courts — improved safety and security
The Government will provide $7.7 million over four years from 2020‑21 (including $7.2 million in capital funding over two years from 2020‑21) for works to improve the safety and security of the Rockhampton and Launceston Federal Circuit Court buildings.
COVID-19 Response Package — additional mental health and crisis support for Victoria
The Government will provide $47.3 million over two years from 2020-21 in additional mental health and crisis support services for people experiencing mental illness and distress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in Victoria, including:
- $26.9 million in 2020-21 to establish 15 enhanced mental health clinics within six Primary Health Networks, to provide immediate coordinated mental health care
- $7.0 million for Beyond Blue, Lifeline and Kids Helpline to expand capacity to manage increased demand for crisis support services in Victoria
- $5.0 million in 2020-21 to support digital and telephone services for vulnerable populations including new and expecting parents, people with eating disorders and culturally and linguistically diverse communities
- $5.0 million in 2020-21 for headspace to increase outreach services to young people in the community who are in severe distress
- $3.4 million over two years from 2020-21 to undertake an evaluation of these initiatives, and to provide additional support to the Victorian Mental Health Taskforce.
This measure builds on the July 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update measure titled COVID-19 Response Package — prioritising mental health and preventive health.
COVID-19 Response Package — supporting mental health
The Government will provide $100.8 million over two years from 2020-21 to provide up to 10 additional psychological therapy sessions each calendar year nationally under the Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (Better Access) initiative. This will increase access to mental health care for all Australians who are experiencing more severe or enduring mental health impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prioritising Mental Health — continued support
The Government will provide an additional $62.1 million over four years from 2020-21 (including $0.6 million per year ongoing) to improve access to mental health services, including:
- $45.7 million over four years from 2020-21 to expand the Individual Placement and Support program under the Youth Employment Strategy to assist vulnerable young people with mental illness to participate in the workforce
- $6.9 million over two years from 2020-21 to support digital mental health services including the Australian Government’s mental health gateway Head to Health
- $5.0 million in 2020-21 to provide parents, guardians and carers with mental health and career information for students in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic
- $2.3 million over four years from 2020-21 to enhance the National headspace network by upgrading the Mount Barker service in South Australia to a full centre
- $2.1 million in 2020-21 for the Prevention Hub led by the Black Dog Institute and Everymind to continue to advance research that targets people at heightened risk of mental ill-health and suicide.
Partial funding for this measure has already been provided for by Government.
This measure builds on the July 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update measure titled Prioritising Mental Health and Preventive Health — continued support and the 2019-20 Budget measure titled Prioritising Mental Health — national headspace network.
COVID-19 Response Package – further economic support payments
The Government will provide $2.6 billion over three years from 2020‑21 to provide two separate $250 economic support payments, to be made from November 2020 and early 2021 to eligible recipients of the following payments and health care card holders:
- Age Pension
- Disability Support Pension
- Carer Payment
- Family Tax Benefit, including Double Orphan Pension (not in receipt of a primary income support payment)
- Carer Allowance (not in receipt of a primary income support payment)
- Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) holders (not in receipt of a primary income support payment)
- Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders
- eligible Veterans’ Affairs payment recipients and concession card holders.
The payments are exempt from taxation and will not count as income support for the purposes of any income support payment.
This measure forms part of the Government’s economic response to COVID-19 and builds on the July 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update measure titled COVID-19 Response Package — payments to support households.
National Disability Insurance Scheme
The Government will provide the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Quality and Safeguards Commission with an additional $798.8 million over four years from 2020‑21. This additional funding will support the NDIA’s continued implementation of the NDIS that will support an estimated 500,000 participants with significant and permanent disability. This additional funding will also support the NDIS Commission to carry out its role in regulating NDIS providers nationally, improve the quality and safety of NDIS supports and expand its compliance and investigative capacity into disability services.
Second Women’s Economic Security Package – ParentsNext
The Government will provide $231.0 million over four years from 2020‑21 for the Second Women’s Economic Security Package. Of this, $24.7 million will be provided over four years from 2020‑21 to streamline the servicing arrangement of ParentsNext and modify the eligibility to provide assistance to parents most in need.
Place Based Income Management — continuation
The Government will provide $9.6 million in 2021‑22 to extend Income Management for one year in all 13 current locations across Australia from 1 July 2021 until 30 June 2022.
Cashless Debit Card — ongoing funding
The Government will provide funding to continue the Cashless Debit Card (CDC) in existing locations on an ongoing basis as well as provide support to transition participants from Income Management to CDC in the Northern Territory and Cape York region.
This funding will also provide for a trial of emerging payment acceptance technologies.
The funding for this measure is not for publication (nfp) as negotiations with potential commercial providers are yet to be finalised.
This measure extends the 2019-20 MYEFO measure titled Place-Based Income Management and Transition to Cashless Debit Card — extension.
Australian Charities and Not‑for‑profits Commission Review Program
The Government will provide $2.9 million over three years from 2020‑21 to implement a program of field‑based compliance reviews to intervene early where charities are at high risk of failing, to meet the obligations under the governance standards of the Australian Charities and Not‑for‑profits Commission (ACNC).
The review function will strengthen the ACNC’s ability to provide greater assurance to Government and the public that charities have appropriate governance structures in place and are using their income for charitable purposes, including when responding to natural disasters.
COVID 19 Response Package — child care — Victorian recovery payments and other support measures
The Government will provide $314.2 million in 2020‑21 to support Victorian Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services to remain viable as COVID‑19 restrictions ease in the state. Support will be in addition to Child Care Subsidy (CCS) payments and continue from 28 September 2020 until 31 January 2021, and includes:
- $269.0 million in recovery payments of 25 per cent pre‑COVID revenue for all Victorian ECEC services (except Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) and Vacation Care services)
- $8.6 million for existing support arrangements for Victorian OSHC and Vacation Care services to be extended until school returns to normal
- $36.6 million in recovery payments of 40 per cent of pre‑COVID revenue for Victorian OSHC and Vacation Care services after school returns to normal, with Vacation Care services to receive payments for the number of weeks they operate over the period.
The recovery payments follow $51.7 million provided by the Government in 2020‑21 for services during the stage four lockdown restrictions.
- Anglicare Australia – Budget fails to meet the moment, leaves people on low incomes high and dry
- Aged Care Guild – Missed opportunity for aged care to be part of Australia’s economic recovery
- Aged & Community Services Australia – Massive $1.6b on homecare a drop in the bucket for aged care fix
- The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry – Budget 2020: Energising Entrepreneurs
- Australian Council of Social Service – Glimmer of hope for some, but millions still stranded
- Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association – Health and aged care spending an investment in a nation’s recovery
- Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association and the Young People in Nursing Homes National Alliance – Budget support for system coordinators for younger people in residential aged care a welcome development
- Australian Psychological Society – Federal Budget: Psychologists applaud doubling of Medicare sessions & welcome focus on system reform
- Brotherhood of St Laurence – Too many left behind as Government misses historic opportunity
- Council on the Ageing– Budget delivers some good news for older Australians, but other things are missing
- Early Childhood Australia – Federal Budget: Missed opportunity to invest in the early years
- Everybody’s Home – Budget 2020-21 a missed chance to build social housing, as homelessness and rental insecurity increase
- headspace – Federal Budget: headspace welcomes vocational and mental health support
- Homelessness Australia – Federal Budget reveals millions to be cut from vital homelessness services
- Leading Age Services Australia – Budget 2020: A down payment on a better aged care system?
- Law Council of Australia – Courts win funding but wider legal sector misses out
- Mission Australia – Mission Australia’s response to Federal Budget 2020-21
- National Seniors Australia – Budget – missed opportunity for older Australians
- National Shelter – Social Housing is the Missing Infrastructure
- The Parenthood – Federal budget fails to address gendered impact of COVID crisis on women
- People with Disability Australia – A ‘Jobs’ Budget Must Include Accessible Jobs For People With Disability
- Suicide Prevention Australia – COVID19 Budget responds to unprecedented levels of distress
- UnitingCare Australia – A budget of hope – but not for all