How Young People Fared in This Year’s State Budget
Swings and roundabouts in this year’s State Budget. It includes investment of $29.8 million over four years to support initiatives to specifically assist young people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Queensland. This is a small win for homeless young people. QYHC recognises the significance of this commitment and the much needed focus on housing in last year’s budget. However, with the rising housing crisis, demand is at an all-time high and supply is verging on non-existent for young people who are locked out of almost all housing options. This is a reality that intensifies with the current competition for access to basic housing.
In her budget statement, Minister Enoch recognised that the current rental market pressures and cost of living pressures are affecting many Queenslanders, with young people at increased risk of homelessness due to a range of factors including lower incomes and lack of rental history. She noted that the Queensland Government was committed to helping young Queenslanders experiencing or at risk of homelessness to find safe, secure and affordable housing: “This significant funding commitment in the State Budget complements our efforts to assist young people to overcome challenges they might experience in obtaining housing and sets them on a pathway to achieve their social and economic independence.”
She expressed the significance of the Queensland Housing and Homelessness Action Plan 2021-2025, and the government’s commitment to developing a policy and integrated framework of housing with support for young people in Queensland. QYHC has partnered with the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy to consult young people, specialist youth homelessness service providers and key stakeholders to bring this important youth housing policy and framework to fruition. We look forward to seeing all young people safely housed.
An Immediate Response funding package that will help families who are struggling to secure housing was also announced. Whilst not specifically for young people, we’re conscious that many of our youth services are working with young families. The need to intervene early in the experience of homelessness for young families is well understood. Backed by a $16 million fund, this package includes increased funding for the Rental Security Subsidy of $7 million as well as an extra $6 million for specialist homelessness services to broker additional temporary emergency accommodation. It also includes $3 million for extra support workers in funded specialist homelessness services to assist families to stay in their current home or secure a new tenancy.
QYHC recognises the government’s commitment to support services this year including domestic and family violence services, neighbourhood centres and mental health services. The importance of support services cannot be overstated. It is consistent feedback we receive from young people. Housing supply remains a critical issue – especially for young people who are significantly marginalised in this, and most, arenas. Equally important is the support they receive to recover and rebuild themselves, to learn the skills needed to start thinking about future goals and working towards achieving them.
QYHC commends the government on increasing the age of support for young people in state care to 21 years. We recognise the significant vulnerability of young pope exiting care, way too often into homelessness. Increasing the age of support to 21 will go some way in mitigating this risk.
Involvement in the child protection system is a significant indicator of the risk of homelessness. Exiting care into homelessness at any age as a young person is fraught with challenges, an outcome we aim to continue to work to alleviate.
The 2022–23 Budget includes increased funding of $2.2 billion over five years for out-of-home care services. It also includes $420.2 million over four years and $92.2 million ongoing to the department to:
- Provide Intensive Family Support services, including early intervention for families with children and young people at risk of coming into contact with the child protection system, with $183.5 million over four years and $45.9 million ongoing
- Deliver Family and Wellbeing Services to provide culturally responsive support services
- Continue the Family and Child Connect service to empower families to care for and protect their children at home, by connecting parents to services to improve parenting skills and manage children’s behaviour
The budget allows for the creation of an extra 87 staff in 2022–23.
Young people leaving care will be supported in their transition to adulthood through a range of new measures commencing in 2023-24, including:
- Continuing the carers allowance for 19 to 21-year-olds remaining at home
- Financial support and mentoring for young people aged 18 to 21 leaving non-family-based care
$21.9 million in 2022–23, as part of total program funding of $125.6 million over 4 years. Across the 4 years funding has been provided for:
- $51.8 million to increase neighbourhood and community centre base operational funding,
- $9.3 million for the Neighbourhood and Community Connect Worker program in areas of greatest need
- $39 million for the construction of new neighbourhood and community centres and significant redevelopments of existing centres
Domestic and Family Violence
$291 million over 4 years, including $21.3 million for Legal Aid Queensland and $22.9 million held centrally, as part of a total funding package of $363 million to deliver a Queensland Government response to the Queensland Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce report, Hear her voice – Report one – Addressing coercive control and domestic and family violence in Queensland.
Increased funding of $263 million over 4 years from 2022–23 and $77 million per year ongoing to support kindergarten funding reform to reduce out-of-pocket expenses for families, increase disability funding and implement educational need funding for children in Queensland attending a kindergarten
$80.6 million over 3 years from 2022–23 to support schools transition to a new resourcing model for students with disability
$15.5 million over 3 years to support the development of respectful relationships education materials and provide professional development and support to schools to embed the respectful relationships education program, forming part of the government’s total funding package of $363 million over 5 years to respond to the first report of the Queensland Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce, Hear her voice – Report one – Addressing coercive control and domestic and family violence in Queensland
$13.3 million in 2022–23 to expand the Share the Dignity in Queensland Schools initiative to fund the installation of Dignity Vending Machines in all state schools, outdoor education centres and student residential facilities.
Increased funding of $78.8 million over four years will be invested in reforms under the Youth Justice Strategy:
- $20.9 million in funding over four years for Indigenous Youth and Family Workers and for Family Led Decision Making to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in decision-making and identifying solutions to address the young person’s offending behaviour
- Continuing the work of youth co-responder teams, in partnership with the Queensland Police Service, to conduct joint patrols, check that bail conditions are complied with, and divert young people from offending
- $7.4 million in continued funding for the Mount Isa Transitional Hub over four years to respond to the needs of at-risk youth
- Increasing funding to expand the number of locations for Multi-agency Collaborative Panels to meet demand across the state
- Recurrent funding for additional permanent staff in youth detention centres
$6.784 billion over 4 years to support the ongoing growth in demand for health and ambulance services
$1.645 billion and a capital investment of $28.5 million over 5 years for Queensland Health’s new 5-year plan for mental health, alcohol and other drugs services and initiatives to improve the mental health, alcohol and other drugs system of care and support.