Hon Coralee O’Rourke addresses the budget breakfast

  • Minister O'Rourke speaking at the QCOSS Budget Breakfast

The Honourable Coralee O’Rourke MP
Minister for Communities and Minister for Disability Services and Seniors

Queensland Council of Social Service
State Budget Breakfast 2019

7-9am, Tuesday, 18 June 2019

I would like to respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet today and Elders past, present and emerging.

I would also like to acknowledge:

  • The Honourable Dianne Farmer MP, Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence;
  • The Honourable Stirling Hinchcliffe MP, Minister for Local Government, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs;
  • Yvette D’Arth, MP, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
  • The Honourable Mark Bailey MP, Minister for Transport and Main Roads;
  • The Honourable Glenn Butcher, MP, Assistant Minister for Treasury;
  • Mr Mark Henley, Chief Executive Officer, Queensland Council of Social Service;
  • Professor Anne Tiernan, Dean (Engagement), Griffith Business School;
  • Anita Veivers, Executive Director, Centacare (Far North Queensland);
  • Neill Wilmett, Chief Executive Officer, Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council;
  • Clare O’Connor, Director-General, Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors;
  • Our Auslan Interpreters;
  • Invited guests; and
  • Ladies and gentlemen.

INTRODUCTION

  • Thank you to the Queensland Council of Social Service for hosting this breakfast.
  • It provides a wonderful opportunity for representatives from government and the wider community to come together and discuss how we will tackle the issues that are affecting vulnerable Queenslanders and communities.
  • I have been invited to speak with you this morning, on behalf of The Honourable Jackie Trad MP, Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.
  • I know the Treasurer was extremely disappointed not to be able to make it today.
  • But I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity to speak about the budget in terms of how it establishes the basis of future partnerships between communities, government, business and the non-government sector.

THEME

  • This is the fifth Palaszczuk, labor budget
  • The fifth budget that has been delivered in surplus,
  • 200,000 jobs have been created and debt is lower than when we came to government
  • There is a record infrastructure spend underway.
  • And I am extremely proud of this record.
  • We are a Labor government – jobs and the dignity of work will always be a centrepiece of our approach.
  • And our vision is one where –
  • Queenslanders, regardless of their age, ability or where they live, are able to participate and be included in their communities, where they are resilient and can enjoy social and economic wellbeing.
  • As QCOSS rightly says, this budget stays the course and we will continue working towards this vision
  • It focuses on our continued commitment to creating jobs, sustainable public investments, innovation, and helping to ensure Queenslanders have the future infrastructure and skills they need.
  • But this does not mean that we are stepping away from new ideas.
  • Because our focus on economic growth will lead to benefits for all communities.
  • With a more collaborative, community driven approach that happens in place.
  • Place-based approaches are a new way of working – to harness community effort and leadership, government investment, local industry participation, and philanthropy – and this will take time.
  • Place based approaches allow collaboration that drives improved social, economic and physical wellbeing of community and they force the focus to be directed to specific areas of challenge – giving all communities a real chance to thrive.
  • We have already made important strides in place-based work, I would like to acknowledge QCOSS, Griffith University and QFCA for the delivery of The Evidence base for future investment that our Govt funded – it is an important part of the foundational work for place-based community service delivery reform.
  • It is through investment in work like this and the important announcements made in last week’s budget – that are needed if we are to realise our Thriving Communities agenda.

Neighbourhood Centres and other place initiatives

  • Neighbourhood and Community Centres can play key roles in place-based initiatives.
  • I have been to Neighbourhood and community centres across the state and each and every one is different, but what they share is a strong connection to their community and a safe, supportive place for those most vulnerable.
  • This year’s budget continues the operational funding to 124 neighbourhood and community centres across the state.
  • The State Budget also acknowledges ongoing funding for the Logan Together initiative of $3.8 million over five years from 2019–20.
  • We will also see two new significant place-based initiatives in Queensland.
  • With Gladstone and Rockhampton receiving $3.9 million over five years to support localised and targeted support for individuals and families in those communities.

CONCESSIONS

  • While government comes to understand and make the move to place-based approaches, it is important that we continue to help with cost of living pressures and housing affordability.
  • We are committing $5.7 billion in the budget to help Queenslanders’ household budgets.
  • This is more than $76 million over the budget commitment of 2018-19.
  • And will go towards helping hard pressed families, young people and our seniors and pensioners to manage the cost of living.
  • The assistance includes $192 million to deliver the electricity rebate to eligible seniors, pensioners, veterans and low-income families.
  • The electricity rebate provides assistance of $341 per year towards electricity costs.
  • To help pensioners remain in their own homes the Pensioner Rate Subsidy Scheme offers a 20 per cent subsidy (up to a maximum $200 a year) to lessen the impact of local government rates and charges.
  • The Pensioner Water Subsidy Scheme provides up to $120 a year to help them reduce water bills.
  • The Palaszczuk Government is committed to addressing housing affordability concerns particularly for local-income households in the rental market.
  • And as you are aware we are investing directly into social and affordable housing through the flagship $1.8 billion Queensland Housing Strategy.
  • More than 1000 social houses and 209 affordable homes have already been procured and/or ready for construction under the Housing Construction Jobs Program.
  • The Queensland Housing Strategy includes two new initiatives announced by my colleague Minister de Brenni last month to support more Queenslanders who are locked out of affordable housing options.
  • The Helping Hand Headleases initiative sees rental properties leased for Queenslanders who need support building their rental history and a Rental Security Subsidy to offer short-term assistance to reduce rental payments for those Queenslanders doing it tough.
  • Our innovative Build-to-Rent pilot project is now seeking expressions of interest from the private sector.
  • Build-to-Rent is about the Government working with the private sector to bring more affordable rentals to market in often more expensive, high demand areas.
  • Diversity in housing options is vital to ensuring everyone has a place to call home.

NDIS

  • In addition to concessions and housing affordability, there is more than $200 million in the budget for disability services.
  • Disability advocacy services also receive a boost in the State Budget, with funding of $8.7 million over two years to 2020-21, and there is also increased funding of $5.6 million in 2019-20 for peak bodies in the disability services sector.
  • This budget reinstates the Taxi subsidy scheme – that we have already given the Commonwealth Government the funding for – not once but twice because people were not being funded properly in their plans.
  • This means Queensland is paying for this twice and while we put people first, the commonwealth govt has to either step up or give us our money back and we will continue to deliver.
  • We also reinstated community nursing because the NDIA said ‘that’s not our responsibility” – even though we have given the commonwealth government the funding for it.
  • We’ve continued ECDP’s because the NDIA hasn’t established an equivalent service. And this budget continues funding personal care in school and school buses because the NDIA just can’t currently deliver.

CONCLUSION

  • I could talk at length about this budget and the continued focus this government has on delivering for our communities and our commitment to work with all of you to deliver thriving communities.
  • While time doesn’t permit for that, I am looking forward to the conversation that will follow.
  • As the Treasurer outlined in her budget speech, budgets are about choices.
  • We have chosen to strengthen the economy, grow jobs and invest in opportunities across the state.
  • We have chosen to invest in a range of services and programs that support some of the most vulnerable individuals, families and communities.
  • While there is a view that the budget did not commit to the Thriving Communities Agenda directly – I do not believe this is the case,
  • I do however acknowledge there is more work to be done together and this is my commitment to you moving forward.

Thank you.

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