Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader
Vulnerable Tasmanians are being left behind by the Gutwein Government.
The latest ROGS data confirms massive underinvestment in housing and homelessness services, a deepening crisis in Child Safety and a youth justice system that has become a vicious cycle of incarceration for young offenders.
While the Gutwein Government is cutting land tax for Tasmanians fortunate enough to own a second property, it is shortchanging housing supply and turning homeless people away in increasing numbers. On an average day in Tasmania, 35 homeless people who ask for help are turned away.
In a deepening housing and homelessness crisis, the Gutwein Government was responsible for just 13 additional public housing homes last year. Tasmania also has the lowest expenditure for each public housing dwelling of any State or Territory.
Failures and underfunding in the Child Safety system are possibly the most damning aspect of this year’s ROGS.
Tasmania is the worst performer of any State or Territory in responding to child safety notifications, with almost three quarters of child safety investigations taking more than three months to complete.
When the Labor Green Government left office in 2014, 44% of child safety investigations commenced within seven days. Under the Liberals, it’s 6.9%. These are horrifying statistics that tell a story of children being left behind by the State.
These delays in ensuring a protective response by the State, compounds the grave risk to children experiencing abuse and neglect. It is no exaggeration to say this failure to respond to abused and neglected children with the urgency they deserve, risks lives.
After seven years of the Liberals in government, Tasmania’s most vulnerable and marginalised people are substantially worse off. The Liberals’ priorities have left them more vulnerable, more marginalised and less hopeful.
- Net recurrent expenditure on public housing has been declining each year since 2016-17.
- 103 properties were transferred from the State to community providers. The ROGs data does not distinguish between title and management transfers.
- The number of public housing dwellings only increased by 13 in 2020 on 2019 levels. The number has decreased from 8,413 in 2014 to 7050 in 2020.
- Community housing overcrowding increased from 3.3% in 2019 to 6.9% in 2020, this is the highest rate any state has had since 2016 when reporting on this metric began.
- Aboriginal household overcrowding is at 10.5%.
- Tasmania has the lowest expenditure per public housing dwelling of any jurisdiction.
- An average of 35.3 homeless people per day make accommodation service requests and are unassisted. This is an increase from 20.6 in 2015-16, and has been increased every year.
- Employment support services result in an increase from 16.7% employment or enrolment in education to 16.9% after support. For Aboriginal people the number drops from 15.9% to 15.3%.
Child Safety Services
- The amount of money spend on care services decreased by $7 million in 2020.
- Response times to commence investigations have continued to decline. In 2019-20 only 6.9% of notification investigations were completed in 7 days. This number is 28.9% in the next worst jurisdiction, and well above 50% for every other jurisdiction.
- 72.6% of investigations took over 90 days to finalise – an increase on 64.3% in 2018-19. The next worst jurisdiction was at 42%.
- 74% of expenditure on Youth Justice services in detention is for salaries and staff costs – the highest of any jurisdiction.
- The injury rate as a result of assaults in custody is 50 per 10,000 custody nights – the highest of any jurisdiction.
- The rate of self-harm and attempted suicide not requiring hospitalisation was 46.1 per 10,000 custody nights.
- The recidivism rate reached 58.3%. Since 2014-15 the rate has consistently been above 50%. In 2013-14 it was 29.8%.