Minister for Disability Services and Community Development
Consolidated Fund Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2019
Wednesday, 29 May 2019
Mrs PETRUSMA (Franklin – Minister for Disability Services and Community Development) – Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure and honour to rise to speak today in response to the Hodgman Liberal Government’s second budget of our second term, and the sixth budget we have delivered overall.
Before I discuss in detail the initiatives we’re committing to in this budget – both in my electorate of Franklin and in my portfolio’s – I would like to take a moment to recognise and acknowledge the Treasurer for having delivered yet another budget, that maintains the momentum and invests for growth. This Budget is the next step in this Government’s long-term plan to grow the economy, create jobs, continue to invest in essential services and to protect our way of life.
Today we have a strong, enviable economy. Almost 13,000 jobs have been created in the past five years, and Tasmanian businesses are the most confident in the country. The 2019/20 State Budget also makes record investments of $8.1 billion into health and $7.1 billion into education. It’s a hallmark of strong and stable Government that we are investing a record amount of $3.6 billion to deliver the job-creating intergenerational infrastructure Tasmania needs now, and in the future, while at the same time focusing on the things that matter most to Tasmanians, including looking after the State’s most vulnerable.
There are no new taxes for Tasmanians. There is record investment into our Affordable Housing Action Plan Two, and we are continuing to deliver on our commitment to help and protect Tasmania’s children and young people, with additional funding allocated in the 2019/20 Budget.
As always, there are challenges Madam Speaker. However, this Government will continue to meet these challenges as we aim for strategic growth, so that more Tasmanians, across every region, can share in the benefits that a confident state produces.
Madam Speaker, one of our first challenges this year was over summer when we faced ferocious bushfires, especially the residents of the Huon Valley in my electorate of Franklin. In spite of challenges like these bushfires, because our Budget is on a strong footing, we’ve been able to respond to these challenges and still deliver a Budget surplus next year – an important element of our responsible financial management.
Madam Speaker, as a proud representative of the electorate of Franklin, I want to highlight some of the important projects in the south of the State, and in particular I’d like to focus on our significant investment in infrastructure, because this Government is working to build our future from the ground up, while protecting and preserving the things that matter, like our way of life.
In regards to roads, this Government is investing $71.8 million on the Greater Hobart Traffic Solution including a fifth lane on Hobart’s Southern Outlet, with priority for buses and carpooling. There’s $58 million to seal Bruny Island Main Road between Alonnah and Lunawanna, as well as to seal Hastings Cave Road, and to improve Arve Road and Jeffrey’s Track.
On the Eastern Shore the Government is investing $85.6 million, including the Richmond Road Masterplan, duplicating the missing link and upgrading junctions on the East Derwent Highway, and planning for access ramps to Rosny from the Tasman Highway.
Madam Speaker, with the population growth in Kingborough, it’s great to see $3.5 million is allocated for a new Child and Family Learning Centre in Kingborough.
Also there’s$2.1 million for a new gymnasium/hall at Snug Primary School, and $1.55 million to upgrade the Montagu Bay Primary School and $4 million for the Southern Support School, as well as sports stadium upgrades for Clarence and Moonah sports stadiums to the value of $200,000.
These infrastructure commitments will help to ensure infrastructure keeps pace with these growing areas. And that’s not only great for the region, but also for the State.
Madam Speaker, since the 2018 election I have had the pleasure and honour of serving as the Minister for Disability Services and Community Development; Minister for Aboriginal Affairs; Minister for Sport and Recreation; and Minister for Women. I want to first put on the record my deep thanks and appreciation to my Ministerial staff and all the Department staff who I have the pleasure of working with, for their passion, dedication and commitment to making a real difference in the lives of nearly all Tasmanians that my portfolios intersect with.
Madam Speaker, the Hodgman Liberal Government has a strong track record of delivering better outcomes for people with disability in this State and I am very pleased to say that we are continuing to build on our previous work by investing even more funding in the 2019/20 Budget towards the provision of services and supports for Tasmanians with disability.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme is one of the biggest and most important reforms that Australia has ever seen, and this Government is 100% committed to playing its part and ensuring that Tasmania’s transfer to the full scheme is a success. That’s why we are investing at record levels over the 2019-20 Budget and forward estimates, with $1.04 billion in cash and in-kind contributions committed by the Tasmanian Government towards the NDIS.
$1.04 billion in cash and in-kind contributions is significant, but Madam Speaker, we’re not stopping there. I’m please to confirm that disability support services that remain outside of the scope of the NDIS will also be funded – including mainstream children’s therapy services, individual advocacy services and continuity of supports for people with disability who are not eligible for the NDIS.
Madam Speaker, in addition to these initiatives, and as was outlined by the Minister for Education in this House recently, this Government is providing a massive boost to support for students with disability in the 2019-20 Budget, with an additional $34 million over the forward estimates allocated to support a new needs-based funding model in Tasmania that will see up to a doubling of students able to access support.
This funding takes the total investment to support students with disability in the 2019 Education budget to $93.35 million, an increase of $24 million since 2014.
This new needs-based model moves away from a one size fits all approach of providing funding based on the type of disability, and instead focuses on the individual and the support they need to achieve a better educational outcome.
An additional $1 million has been allocated to the Tasmanian Autism Diagnostic Services, making a total of nearly $1.9m available in 2019/20 to assist in reducing the wait time for an autism assessment for children aged 0-18 years. Madam Speaker, early diagnostic assessments of autism also enables earlier transition to the NDIS for children, with families being able to access the services and funding they require far earlier.
- To further improve outcomes for children through access to early intervention and support, the Government is also funding important mainstream children’s therapy services. Mainstream children’s therapy services provide for health-related interventions, rehabilitation and therapy for developmental support for children and young people ineligible for the NDIS and Early Childhood Early Intervention Services.
The Tasmanian Government recognises the vital role of independent individual advocacy services and the critical role they provide in ensuring people with disability can access the same rights as others.
Individual advocacy services will therefore continue to be funded to ensure that people with disability are adequately supported in advocating for their needs to be met, including under the NDIS.
Further, and in accordance with our Bilateral Agreement with the Australian Government in regards to continuity of support, we are also committed to continuing to fund individuals with disability who were receiving funding for supports either not eligible for individual support packages through the NDIS, or who require supports that are outside of the scope of those funded under the NDIS.
Madam Speaker, in Community Development, collectively, our community development peak bodies represent nearly all of Tasmania’s population, including older Tasmanians, volunteers, young people, carers, multicultural Tasmanians, LGBTI Tasmanians as well as veterans under Minister Barnett.
Madam Speaker, in this year’s State Budget, we have made sure our peak bodies can continue to advocate for and support Tasmanians, to ensure the voices and views of Tasmanians are heard, to provide advice to government, and to raise awareness of available government programs and services, for Tasmanians.
Last year we increased these peak bodies core funding for the first time since 2010. To ensure funding for our community development peak bodies keeps pace with operational requirements, our 2019-20 budget sees annual indexation of 2.25 per cent applied to core funding for the first time, which brings annual core funding to each of the peaks to $112,475 for 2019-20. This boost to funding will help ensure these key organisations can continue to deliver services and support to those who need it the most.
The Hodgman Liberal Government is also a strong supporter of Tasmania’s youth and the Youth Network of Tasmania. YNOT plays an important role in advocating for young people and for the youth sector, and that’s why the Government this year has committed $25,000 in 2019-20, and again in 2021-22, to YNOT to host a Tasmanian Youth Conference. Therefore, including peak body and project funding and the $40,000 pa YNOT receives to host Youth Week Tasmania each year, YNOT will receive $932,976 over three years from 2018/19 to help Tasmania’s young people.
As well as receiving indexed peak body funding, Carers Tasmania will again receive $20,000 towards there very popular “I Care” resource so as to provide 10,000 booklets to carers.
Madam Speaker, in addition to their indexed peak funding, the Tasmanian Men’s Shed Association will also receive additional funding of $125,000 this year for the Tasmanian Men’s Shed Grant fund, with applications for 2019 now open.
The Council of the Ageing (COTA) will also receive funding of $390,000 over the next two years to implement initiatives under the Government’s Strong, Liveable Communities Tasmania’s Active Ageing Plan 2017-2022, our comprehensive whole of government strategy for older Tasmanians. In addition to this and their peak body funding, we are also providing COTA with $106,000 each year to fund Seniors Week.
The Budget also maintains our election commitment funding of $1.8 million for food security in Tasmania, including $250,000 per annum in funding to Foodbank. This is in addition to our commitment of $100,000 per annum to Foodbank for the base in the North-West.
There is also funding for the Loaves and Fishes Tasmania Project of $150,000, a partnership between the Devonport Chaplaincy, Secondbite, the Devonport Youth Accommodation facility, and the Devonport Homelessness Action Group.
This social enterprise is based in Devonport and sees quality donated fresh and surplus food, producing 1000’s of nutritious ready-to-eat cooked meals being distributed to Tasmanians doing it tough each week.
We are also investing $25,000 to support the work of Produce to the People, on top of $75,000 over three years to further develop and maintain its successful micro greens social enterprise.
Plus we have also committed $60,000 in funding this year for Tasmania’s three mobile food van services, including Gran’s Van in Devonport, Louis’ Van in Hobart and Launceston’s Missionbeat, to continue their great community service of delivering hot food, warm clothing and blankets, to those who are homeless.
To support positive outcomes for Tasmania’s multicultural communities, refugees and migrants, we are delighted to also be providing an additional $595,000 this year for a range of initiatives that will help support and lead to a stronger, more vibrant multicultural Tasmania.
Madam Speaker, another way we are working to improve the lives of Tasmanians is through the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio.
In our first term, we focused heavily on resetting our relationship with Tasmanian Aboriginal people. The Premier set a strong agenda – one that that was designed to make a real difference to the lives of Tasmanian Aboriginal people. Madam Speaker, over the last year I’ve had the immense privilege to continue that work on behalf of the Government. And today, more than ever, we remain steadfast in that commitment.
We are focused on improving social, cultural and economic outcomes, and promoting greater understanding and acceptance of Aboriginal culture. And that’s because we have a genuine desire to make a positive difference – a true difference that recognises Tasmania’s remarkable 40,000 plus years of Aboriginal heritage and culture, and one that points to a brighter future for Aboriginal Tasmanians.
To demonstrate that our commitment today to the reset is as strong as ever, the 2019-20 State Budget invests new funding of $542,000 across the forward estimates to support activities and initiatives. This includes $90,000 next year, and each year over the forward estimates, so as to support greater involvement of Aboriginal communities in government decisions and policy making, therefore better outcomes, consistent with the Statement of Intent between the Tasmanian Regional Aboriginal Communities Alliance and the Tasmanian Government.
Madam Speaker, we are also providing $5,000 per annum, and over the forward estimates, to support emerging Tasmanian Aboriginal female leaders and to promote career pathways for Aboriginal girls through an annual awards program to highlight leadership and excellence. This program will be open to secondary school students attending all Tasmanian schools.
Teachers will nominate eligible students who will be invited to outline how they will use the award to support and advance their academic or career interests. Five emerging leaders will be selected from across the State and awarded a scholarship of $1,000.
Madam Speaker, we are also continuing to invest in activities and events that help us to continue the reset momentum, like our Heads of Agency forums, regional reconciliation festivals and events, including two new events announced this week, and ongoing consultation with Aboriginal communities on important Government Policy.
Across Government we are also working to close the gap in inequalities experienced by Aboriginal people. This work includes initiatives such as support for Aboriginal Tasmanians impacted by family violence, and permanent funding for a coordinated approach to increase the number of Aboriginal people employed in the State Service.
We are also committed to supporting the growth and sustainability of Aboriginal enterprises, and we look forward to releasing our Indigenous Procurement Policy next quarter to help support more opportunities for Tasmanian Aboriginal businesses.
Madam Speaker, in regards to our extensive Aboriginal heritage and culture, we are also providing ongoing funding of $200,000 pa to support the Cultural Management Group to continue its work on the management of cultural values, tourism and a program for Aboriginal Tasmanians to access important resources within the Tasmanian Wilderness and World Heritage Area, as well as for Aboriginal Trainee Rangers to work in our national parks and reserves.
Madam Speaker, another of my portfolio areas is Sport and Recreation.
The Hodgman Liberal Government is committed to being the healthiest state as well as to have the lowest rate of obesity in Australia by 2025 which is why we are investing in key areas in the 2019-2020 State Budget to help that vision become a reality. Playing sport is key to establishing lifelong healthy habits and has a wide range of benefits, ranging from improving physical and mental health, to fostering social skills and developing teamwork and leadership skills.
In 2019-20 alone, over $28 million will be invested in initiatives that will boost participation and improve sport and recreation facilities and programs so as to grow the number of Tasmanians involved in sport. Our investments in sport this year have a particular focus on boosting participation by women and girls, people with disability, children and young people, and those who face the biggest barriers to participation.
Importantly, our commitments include an additional $1 million in 2019-20 for our Ticket to Play Program – the first sports voucher system in Tasmania for children and young people who are listed on a valid Centrelink Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card. This takes our commitment to Ticket to Play to a total of $4 million or 40,000 sports vouchers to assist with the cost of sporting memberships.
To further assist people experiencing significant disadvantage, we are also supporting the work of RecLink Australia, in implementing the Reclink Program in George Town, Risdon Vale, Glenorchy and Brighton with funding of $286,000 allocated over two years. This program delivers sport and recreation opportunities to help transform the lives of vulnerable people, from 16 years of age upwards.
Madam Speaker, in further recognition of the importance of connecting students with opportunities to participate in sport, we have allocated $1.4 million in the Department of Education for a new initiative of Regional Sports Coordinators which will be employed in each of Tasmania’s regions.
Participation in sport from an early age is integral to establishing lifelong healthy habits.
Therefore, the Regional Sports Coordinator program’s primary aim will be to drive participation and to be a key point of contact between families and children who want to play sport, and sport leagues and clubs looking to organise access to schools.
They will also investigate talent pathways, substantially improve outcomes for our students, while also coordinating sporting equipment, uniforms, after-school transport, and training where possible.
Not only will the Coordinators work towards improving sporting outcomes for Tasmanian students, but they can also assist schools in applying for grant funding.
Christian Ellston from North Melbourne Football Club has said:
“We are very supportive of this move and see it as a vital cog in boosting participation in sport across the board and providing the link between sports and other key learning areas…”
In regards to women in sport, one initiative is where we are providing $240,000 per annum to support high performance and additional pathways for women into cricket. In addition, $200,000 will be provided to support hosting the Big Bash League and Women’s Big Bash League matches in the North and North-West in 2019-20.
Cricket Tasmania CEO, Nick Cummins has welcomed this announcement and said “Our Female Program couldn’t have undergone the improvement it did last year without the support of the Government,” as well, “We’re pleased that the Government shares our view that as Tasmania’s team, the Hurricanes should be accessible to all Tasmanians, be it in the north or south of the State.”
A further $400,000 over four years will be provided to Hockey Tasmania to assist participation in the new domestic league, Hockey One.
Damian Smith, CEO Hockey Tasmania stated “The Tasmanian State Government are fantastic supporters of Hockey in Tasmania and this funding agreement is a massive financial boost to our Tassie Tigers, our senior elite representative women’s and men’s team, as they seek to continue their national success in the new Hockey One league.
There is also new funding of $250,000 to the Sporting Competitions Access Fund, for dedicated funding support for athletes with disability to assist with the increased costs they face in regards to access to sporting events, especially nationally and internationally.
The Elphin Sports Centre will receive a new roof through $400,000 funding support, and there is $200,000 to assist the NFSRA with maintenance for their Moonah and Clarence Sports Centres.
To help grow grassroots football in the State and to help forge a pathway to a Tasmanian AFL and AFLW team, there is also $195,000 over three years to provide administrative support to the Football Tasmania Board that commences July 1.
Madam Speaker, another 19-20 Budget Key Deliverable, is a statewide Strategy for Sport and Recreation Facilities, which will inform future sport and recreation facility investment decisions, with the aim of increasing the opportunity for all Tasmanians to engage in physical activity.
Madam Speaker, I’m delighted to say these are just some of the initiatives we are committed to delivering and funding in sport and recreation, so as to help provide even more opportunities for Tasmanians to be active and to enjoy participation in sport and recreation right around Tasmania.
Madam Speaker, I have had the absolute privilege to serve as the Minister for Women since this Government first came to office in 2014. I’ve always been of the view that the Hodgman Liberal Government’s vision for a more inclusive Tasmania that empowers and enables women and girls to fully participate in our economic, social, political and community life is not just sound policy – it’s also vitally important for Tasmania’s future.
Our Tasmanian Women’s Strategy 2018-2021 is therefore a critical enabler in this process and encapsulates the measures we need to pursue to help create a more equal society.
Madam Speaker, I am proud to be serving in a Government that passionately wants to reduce gender-based inequalities and promote gender equality in Tasmania. Our strategic approach deliberately focusses on leadership and participation, health and wellbeing, financial security and safety, and is supported by a range of key initiatives in the 2019-20 Budget – a Budget that delivers on our plan to build a better future for women and girls.
The 2019-20 Budget provides additional funding of $200,000 over four years (2019-20 to 2022-23) for scholarships to support women in leadership. This program is directed towards women who are Tasmania’s emerging leaders, particularly those who face the most barriers to leadership opportunities including board appointments.
The program is all about giving more Tasmanian women the opportunity to learn the skills they will need to serve as company directors, including potentially on government boards and committees.
Madam Speaker, when we first came to Government, women held only 33.8 per cent of all board positions. As at 31 December 2018, the percentage of board positions held by women is at 44.18 per cent – a massive increase of nearly 31 per cent in the ratio of women board members, and an increase of 10.38 percentage points in the number of board positions held by women since 2015.
These great results are a testament to our Women on Boards Strategy 2015-20, which ensures greater consideration is given to identify and recruit women with the relevant knowledge, skills and experience to fill board vacancies.
Madam Speaker, good health and wellbeing positively affect the lives of women and girls in many way, enhancing their quality of life, education and the ability to participate socially and economically in the community.
Madam Speaker, Tasmanian women are now receiving the healthcare they need sooner, under the Hodgman majority Liberal Government’s funding to boost access to women’s health services.
And this is due to the partnership approach taken by our Speaker of the House of Assembly and our Health Minister, the Hon. Michael Ferguson MP, who have worked together since the election to put this new program in place.
I’m delighted to see that under the Hodgman Liberal Government, there is an additional $7.2 million being $3.6 million in 2018-19 and $3.6 million in 2019-20, to enable an estimated 900 additional surgical procedures, targeted specifically at women who have waited the longest on the elective surgery waiting list for their procedures.
Part of the funding will also provide better support for women not requiring surgery.
In relation to the non-surgical services component of this important women’s health initiative, a program is being implemented to provide alternative treatment for conditions where women elect not to undertake surgery or surgery is not considered the best treatment option, and implementation will primarily be through physiotherapy departments.
We are proud to be building a better health systems for all Tasmanians, with record funding, more staff and increased services.
We are also proud to be delivering more funding to support women in our state, because gender is also one of the most powerful determinants of Health outcomes. That is why, under the Hodgman Liberal Government’s Tasmanian Women’s Strategy 2018-21, Health and Wellbeing is one of the four key action areas, especially as the 2017 report Health of Australia’s Females by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that only one in two women get sufficient physical activity.
Two of the priorities in the Strategy are therefore, to promote women’s and girl’s increased participation in sport, recreation and physical activity; and to address the barriers to women’s and girl’s participation in sport, recreation and physical activity.
Research has shown that one of the biggest barriers to female participation is poor, inadequate facilities. That is why we have committed $10 million over two years for the Levelling the Playing Field Grants Program, so as to remove this barrier and to make sure our sport facilities are of an appropriate standard.
Madam Speaker, this $10m is by far the largest per capita investment in women’s and girl’s facilities by any State or Territory government and it proudly demonstrates this government’s commitment to women’s sport
Through Levelling the Playing Field, this Government is providing grants of between $15,000 up to $1 million to support the development of facilities, such as change rooms, lockers, toilets, showers and amenities for female athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers.
Madam Speaker, the first grant round was a tremendous success, with 21 organisations from right across the state successful in receiving funding. These include:
- $250,000 to refurbish the North Hobart Oval change rooms;
- $630,000 for new change rooms at Pembroke Park, Sorell;
- $310,000 for new change rooms and toilets at the Wynyard Recreation Ground; and
- $438,100 to upgrade the change rooms at the Westbury Recreation Ground.
Madam Speaker, the total projects to be delivered around Tasmania under Round 1 are worth over $10.1 million – a fantastic return on investment between the Tasmanian Government, Local Government and Sport Organisations.
Madam Speaker, to further encourage women and girl’s participation in sport, the Levelling the Playing Field Grants Program Round 2 Expressions of Interest have recently been undertaken. The program received 35 Expressions of Interest that are now being assessed by the Department.
As for Round One, Levelling the Playing Field is being administered in two stages.
By conducting a two-stage process, we are able to gauge interest, get an overview of the project, manage expectations, and ensure we are only asking applicants with a strong case for how their project will definitely increase female participation to move to the next stage and to then provide the detailed project information required for the full application.
Projects with matching dollar-for-dollar funding from the facility owner and a funding contribution from the relevant sport or local Council will be viewed more favourably as we aim to leverage the government’s $10 million commitment to achieve around $20 million of investment into more female friendly facilities around Tasmania.
Madam Speaker, another key pillar of our women’s strategy is Safety, and the Hodgman Liberal Government has made eliminating family violence a top priority which is why in last year’s Budget we made a commitment to invest an additional $20.2M in funding to address this scourge. This includes extending our $26 million nation-leading Safe Homes Safe Families: Tasmania’s Family Violence Action Plan including $6 million per annum to implement the Family Violence Action Plan Stage II.
This year’s Budget has even more funding which will support the establishment of a single combined family violence and sexual violence action plan. This is based on the Family Violence Service System Review findings, research and practice evidence that recommended the need for an increased focus on sexual violence within family violence, in recognition that sexual violence often intersects with family violence. The new Plan is scheduled for release prior to 1 July 2019, and an additional $4.7 million is being provided over three years for family violence initiatives and an additional $1.9 million is provided over three years for the implementation of sexual violence initiatives, on top of last year’s funding boost.
All new actions that will be announced in the near future are informed and based on the outcomes of the comprehensive Family Violence Service System Review.
Madam Speaker, the Project ‘O’ family violence primary prevention project to help drive generational and attitude change by backing rural young women to become change-makers in their community on the North West Coast also continues this year, as well as planning for new women and children’s crisis shelter in the South, with associated mapping of the need for family-style crisis accommodation in the North and North West.
Our continued investment in Family Violence ensures we continue to offer the greatest protection possible for Tasmanian families at risk, as while significant action has been taken and progress made, Family Violence remains unacceptably prevalent in our community and addressing it requires ongoing action.
Therefore, our commitment of additional funding not only provides certainty to our partner organisations and agencies, but also demonstrates this Government’s unwavering commitment to continuing our efforts to eliminate family violence.
Madam Speaker, the Hodgman Government is also focused on increasing women’s financial security. This includes delivering on our Financial Security for Women Action Plan, which sets out a range of actions across the whole of Government to address women’s financial security.
It includes an aim of increasing the number of women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM), and includes DPIPWE’s ‘See it, Dream it, Do it’ program that I was delighted to help launch earlier this year.
Madam Speaker, over our first four-year term, the Hodgman Liberal Government provided new funding of $80,000 to Tasmanian Women in Agriculture. As part of our Taking Agriculture to the Next Level Policy, we have increased our support to $120,000 pa. This reflects our confidence in the demonstrated ability of TWiA to support and empower more rural women to take on leadership roles in Tasmanian primary industries, by providing opportunities to network and support each other, and by empowering them to realise their full potential. It is exciting to see TWiA encouraging their members to expand their skills and continue to develop their leadership capacity.
We know there is more work to do, and the Hodgman Liberal Government will continue to work to reduce economic disadvantage, to enhance economic growth and to increase the wellbeing of Tasmanian women, girls and their families.
Madam Speaker, it is clear our economy is in good shape – strong, diverse and growing.
Last year our economy grew at 3.3 per cent, its highest rate in a decade, and our Gross State Product was over $30 billion. Our economy is growing the fastest in the nation – nearly double the Australian average. And this means more Tasmanians get to benefit. A growing economy, equals more jobs, greater investment in essential services and a commitment to continue protecting our way of life.
In the words of the Treasurer, this Budget is about maintaining the momentum and investing in growth, and I for one commend the Treasurer for delivering.
Our best days are still ahead, and with all my colleagues in the Hodgman Liberal Government will continue to work hard to ensure we maintain the momentum for Tasmanians.