AnglicareSA has largely welcomed this afternoon’s State Budget but is concerned that a fairly significant element of the government’s strategy to return to surplus is based upon households gambling more.

Chief Executive Officer Dr Lynn Arnold said there have been a number of small positive steps regarding housing, families, disability and ageing, but was concerned at the government’s reliance on increased gambling revenue.

“The budget papers indicate that tax revenues from machines will grow from $286m in 2010/11 to $386m in 2014/15,” Dr Arnold said. “That’s a growth of 30.4 per cent over five years.  Yet it also states that gambling machine revenue will grow ‘broadly in line with household consumption.’”

Dr Arnold said Anglicare could ascertain nothing within the budget papers which shows that household consumption is going to grow at this rate. Indeed the document estimates growth in State Financial Demand (SFD) from 2010/11 to 2014/15 will only be 14 per cent.

Dr Arnold was pleased that the Government is committing funding to stop children going into motel accommodation and to keep sibling groups together.

“It has been a tragedy that, in our comfortable society, there should ever have been children for whom there was no better home than a motel room,” Dr Arnold said.

“However it is disappointing that we have to re-introduce more residential facilities for children in SA since it is so difficult to find enough families willing to provide foster care.  It should be noted that the number of children in care is expected to grow 6.8 per cent this coming year.”

Dr Arnold acknowledged the extra money in Child Protection initiatives set aside to increase reunification efforts, but no mention is made to increase funding for early intervention and preventative programs.

“If we are serious about preventing children coming into care and overcome childhood trauma that has a lifelong detrimental impact, South Australia needs to urgently increase its efforts and fund more programs such as Anglicare’s Intensive Placement Prevention program.”

“The additional funding provided in today’s budget to support people with a disability in our community is a step forward to recognising and addressing the complex needs of people with disability to ensure greater independence and fullness of life. This is a step forward that AnglicareSA supports and it is crucial that this commitment by the State Government to improving services and supports for people with disability continues into the future.”

Contact: Jenny Barrett. M: 0408 717 025 P: (08) 8305 9301