Settlement Services International (SSI) and Access Community Services have welcomed this week’s budget announcements by the NSW and Queensland governments, commending their focus on women, healthcare, housing and education.
SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis AM congratulated the NSW Premier and Minister for Women Bronwyn Taylor for their inaugural Women’s Opportunity Statement, and significant investment in childcare and women’s economic participation.
“We know that for newly arrived clients being able to access affordable childcare, public transport, healthcare, and education are key factors to being able to settle in the community, find employment and build a sustainable life in Australia,” she said.
“SSI has a strong focus on women and experiences the barriers migrant and refugee women face first-hand in accessing services and gaining permanent employment commensurate with their skills.”
SSI also joined with the Queensland Council of Social Service in welcoming the Queensland Government’s record $2.9 billion investment for social and affordable housing.
“Affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges facing all Australians and we welcome this announcement,” Ms Roumeliotis said.
“We look forward to seeing the new Federal Labor Government's budget later in the year delivering on its election promise for over 20,000 new social housing properties, with 4000 being dedicated for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence.”
Queensland State Director for Access Community Services and Group Head for Health, Etienne Roux, also welcomed record funding for mental health, suicide prevention, alcohol and other drug services.
“As the Group Head for Health and a qualified psychologist, I can say firsthand we have seen increased demand for our mental health and counselling services since the beginning of the pandemic, with cases becoming increasingly complex,” he said.
“We hope this additional support will come through to specialist organisations working on the front line who are delivering services to some of the people most in need, particularly in our culturally and linguistically diverse communities.”
Ms Roumeliotis said SSI looked forward to continuing to work with the Queensland and NSW governments, and to the implementation of committed funding.