Why is the NSW Government’s budget important to our organisation?

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Every year, ahead of the NSW Budget, Samaritans makes a public statement about our expectations of the government of the day, and their budget.

Why?

Great question.

Every time a government makes a decision on how to spend taxpayers’ money, it impacts the public, it impacts the people Samaritans supports, and it impacts you.

You may catch a bus to get to work – government spending on public transport impacts the quality of that experience.

You may get sick and need to go to hospital – government spending impacts the quality of that experience.

You may be a victim of domestic violence and need help to find housing to rebuild your life – government spending impacts that experience.

A government budget is also a clear indicator of what the priorities are of a current government.

Next week, the NSW Government will hand down its first Budget since winning the recent NSW State Election.

As with all Budgets, Samaritans is hoping to see several commitments that address the needs of marginalised people in the community.

The three areas Samaritans is hoping to see commitment in are:

  1. Housing: We remain hopeful that the NSW Government will recognise that housing is a basic human right, and too many people across the state are experiencing homelessness due to lack of affordable housing. Samaritans endorses the Everybody’s Home campaign, particularly the priority call for more affordable and social housing. We will be watching closely for any allocation announced next week towards the issue of social and affordable housing.
  2. Disability Advocacy: Disability advocates serve a vital role in working with people with disabilities to get fair and just treatment in various aspects of their lives. Despite the importance of disability advocacy services, the NSW Government has only committed to funding services until 2020. At Samaritans, we stand with advocacy groups and organisations through the #StandByMe campaign to demand more certainty from the NSW Government.
  3. Mental Health: Mental ill-health is a common issue for people who access services from Samaritans. For those who also have an intellectual disability, we see the unique challenges faced by these people as they try to navigate the NDIS and the public mental health system. We support the call from the RANZCP for funding for multidisciplinary community-based mental health teams dedicated to support people with an intellectual disability who have mental health conditions.

After the NSW Government’s Budget is announced next Tuesday June 18, we will report back on whether there has been any commitment – significant or otherwise – in addressing these key issues.