Labor will invest in the organisations that are the life blood of our state, empowering communities and supporting vulnerable Tasmanians.
Tasmanian Men’s Shed Association Grants Program – Men’s Sheds play a valuable role in our communities, providing a safe and friendly environment for members to meet regularly, support each other and take part in meaningful projects. Tasmania’s Men’s Sheds deliver amazing outcomes for members health and wellbeing and the other community organisations their projects often support.
A majority Labor Government will increase the TMSA Grants Program to $175,000 per annum for the next three years ($525,000). These grants will support for the purchase of tools and equipment and minor capital works to expand infrastructure needed for sheds to operate.
This commitment is in addition to specific infrastructure commitments made by Labor to individual Men’s Sheds.
Neighbourhood House Capital Grants – Neighbourhood Houses provide their communities with a place to come together and foster local connections, providing a place to access vital employment, training and volunteering opportunities, learn new life-skills and engage in health and wellbeing activities.
A majority Labor Government will provide $30,000 to each of the states 35 Neighbourhood House for capital works to pay for upgrades to ensure all Houses are fit for purpose. This includes 18 houses in the South, 10 in the North and seven in the North West.
The funding agreements will have the flexibility to allow individual houses to determine their own priorities, but could include upgrades to kitchens, BBQ areas and/or community gardens.
This commitment is in addition to specific infrastructure commitments made by Labor to individual Neighbourhood Houses.
Food Relief Package – A Majority Labor Government will provide practical support to deliver food relief to Tasmanians in need and keep up with rising demand.
Labor will provide $1.0 million a year for three years to support the expansion of Tasmania’s two statewide food relief agencies – FoodBank Tasmania (FBT) and Loaves and Fishes Tasmania (LFT).
These food relief agencies and the organisations they work with make a huge contribution to looking after the nutritional needs of Tasmanians doing it tough. Labor is working for all Tasmanians to nourish our communities.
This funding in addition to Labor’s commitment to introduce government-funded healthy lunches in all government primary schools across the state over the next six years in a $31.8 million initiative which will improve school attendance and lead to better educational outcomes and healthier lives for future generations of Tasmanian children.
Continue the increased level of peak body funding – Labor understands the vital work undertaken by the community sector is not possible without the dedication and advocacy or the community peak organisations. That is why Labor will continue the increased level of peak body funding for community peak organisations, including Volunteering Tasmania, the Youth Network of Tasmania, Carers Tasmania, the Tasmanian Men’s Shed Association, RSL Tasmania, Council of the Ageing, providing each with annual indexation.
Supporting Volunteer Organisations – Labor knows that the work of many local community organisations would not be possible without hard working and committed volunteers. We acknowledge that working with vulnerable persons (WWVP) checks are not only a cost to many individual volunteers but a larger one to organisations.
It is understood that the Commission of Inquiry into child sex abuse in Tasmania will hand down its recommendations within 12 months and it is anticipated recommendations will have tighter guidelines in this area.
Labor is committed to working with Volunteering Tasmania to do a full review of the cost structure in relation to WWVP when the Commission of Inquiry releases the report.
Labor is committed to supporting Tasmanians living with a disability. Labor knows that a strong, inclusive and positive future for our state depends on achieving equitable outcomes for people with a disability.
In Tasmania, 1 in 4 people identify as living with a disability, which is the highest percentage in the country. In fact, this is likely to be much higher as a large number of people with a psychosocial disability may not have reported as ‘having a disability’ in the census and some may not have participated in the census at all. Additionally, it is well documented that Tasmania has the highest rates of MS, Cerebral Palsy and Autism in the country.
$2 million for support services for Tasmanians living with a disability – 10,600 Tasmanians are currently eligible for the NDIS, which leaves approximately 90,000 Tasmanians living with a disability relying on the Tasmanian State Government to provide the care and services they need. It is vital that all people living with a disability get the support and advocacy services they need to assist with problems they may face in many areas, including access to health services, education and housing. Sadly, the Liberal Government has cut funding to these vital services. A majority Labor Government will restore these vital services across our state, supported by funding of $2 million per year.
Accessible education – Labor strongly supports the Educational Adjustments model and wants to better understand the needs of students who are living with a disability but are not currently receiving the support they need to participate in school.
All Tasmanian students with a disability and the dedicated people who educate them, should have the adjustments, resources and professional learning they need.
That is why Labor will commission a review into the implementation of the Educational Adjustments model, which will be delivered to Parliament within our first year in government.
Protecting our most vulnerable Tasmanians – To protect the most vulnerable in our community, a majority Labor Government will establish an independent Community Services Commissioner with the powers to investigate matters which relate to disability service provision, including education. With increasing services being delivered through the community sector, including disability, housing and child protection services, it is critical that the rights of people are protected.
3,500 new social houses – Labor believes that safe and secure housing is a basic human right. The latest human services dashboard reported over 3,800 people on the housing waitlist. Of these, a third are recognised as living with a disability. A majority Labor Government will build an additional 2,000 new social houses over the next six years, in addition to what is already funded in the budget. That means 3,500 new homes will be delivered under a majority Labor Government. Labor will also invest nearly $40 million to build and fund supported and emergency accommodation services, including $6 million for disability accommodation, because Labor knows how vital these services are.
Helping Tasmanians find a job in the disability workforce – With increased demand in both the disability support and aged care sectors, there is a jobs and skills shortfall of up to 5,000 workers in Tasmania. Labor’s Free TAFE policy is targeted at providing training in both these sectors and helping Tasmanians find a job in these vital sectors. Tasmania has the fastest ageing population in Australia, in addition to 1 in 4 Tasmanians living with a disability. To support the increased demands on these sectors a majority Labor Government will commit to developing a disability workforce strategy in government.
Support for carers – Labor understands that over 80,000 Tasmanians provide care and support to family members and friends. As our population ages, demand for informal care is projected to increase rapidly, outstripping the supply of informal carers. Improving the quality of life for carers not only provides them with support and recognises their selfless work, it improves the quality of the care relationship. We don’t often hear about the work carers do and the personal sacrifices they make. That is why a majority Labor Government will work with Carers Tasmania to work towards the introduction of a Carer Recognition Charter and accompanying legislation, to give our carers the recognition that they deserve.
$26 million through procurement for Australian Disability Enterprises – A majority Labor Government will support all Tasmanians to find a good job by requiring government agencies to spend 2 per cent of their supplies and consumables budgets with Australian Disability Enterprises. These enterprises support people living with a disability to find and maintain a job. This policy will inject $26 million to those businesses and support the creation of 300 jobs across a wide range of industries.
$1.96 million to assist people living with a disability with transport – Labor recognises that access to transport is essential to help people get to work or training. Working age people with a disability are twice as likely to be unemployed and limited transport options contribute to that, especially in regional Tasmania. Labor will reinstate a $1,000 taxi subsidy, increasing it from the current low level of $350. The scheme will be available to Tasmanians living with a disability to access jobs, education, training and appointments. This represents an investment of $1.96 million over four years.
Support for Tasmanians with assistance animals – For those living with a physical disability or mental illness, assistance animals provide valuable therapeutic benefits to their owners, enabling them to better participate in and navigate day to day life. Unlike all other states in Australia, Tasmania does not have a system of accreditation for assistance animals. Without a system that is able to recognise and accredit assistance animals, many owners are left with the responsibility to continually prove to private businesses that their animal is necessary to assist with their condition and that the animal is sufficiently trained. A majority Labor Government will work towards implementing an accessible mechanism for Tasmanians living with a disability to have their assistance animals recognised. This will make life easier for Tasmanians who rely on an assistance animal.
$2 million for Guide Dogs Tasmania – Tasmania is unable to meet the identified need for properly trained guide dogs to support people with a vision impairment or blindness, autism, dementia, mental health issues and post-traumatic stress disorder. A majority Labor Government will address this by funding Guide Dogs Tasmania with $2 million to set up a world-class breeding and training program in multiple regions across Tasmania. This will create 6 new permanent jobs and an additional 30 volunteer roles for Tasmanians.
Accessible tourism – All Tasmanians deserve the opportunity to experience all the tourism experiences our state has to offer. Labor believes that tourism infrastructure, tourism products, public spaces and accommodation should be accessible for everyone living with a disability. Labor is committed to accessible tourism and will work in Government to ensure that accessible tourism is considered as part of our broader job-creating tourism strategy.
Labor knows that older Tasmanians make a significant contribution to our community’s prosperity, cultural richness and well-being. Older Tasmanians provide a wealth of valuable experience, knowledge and skills, and a significant economic contribution.
Labor strongly values the vital role of older volunteers in organisations and community groups. Many others make a positive economic contribution as primary carers for their spouse or grandchildren.
A priority for Labor is to identify ways to harness the valuable input and resources of older Tasmanians and continue to keep them engaged and participating in community life.
Combatting age discrimination – Labor knows that the language used around ageing has predominantly been negative, implying that older people are a burden. To combat this, a majority Labor Government will sign an Age Friendly Declaration that acknowledges the value of older Tasmanians, and reflects the commitment of government to providing leadership for better state and local planning for more age- friendly communities.
$110,000 to tackle discrimination – Mature aged workers are reporting more discrimination within the workplace. A majority Labor Government will fund Council on the Ageing (COTA) to the tune of $100,000 to tackle age discrimination in the workforce and to provide resources for business to help them become ageing workforce ready. Additionally, Labor will allocate $10,000 for a study into the representations of older people in the media to build an evidence base for the development of media protocols for the coverage of ageism and elder abuse.
Elder Abuse – Labor knows that elder abuse is a growing problem that can occur in the privacy of a person’s home or in aged care institutions. A majority Labor Government will be committed to taking action to address elder abuse and will allocate resources to develop a transparent and independent complaints system for investigating and addressing elder abuse. Additionally, the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute would be tasked with developing state laws as part of a nationally consistent framework for preventing elder abuse.
$100,000 for Intergenerational Play to support older Tasmanians – Labor knows the importance of supporting older Tasmanians’ mental health, with social isolation and loneliness being of significant concern. The Intergenerational Play model has proven effective in connecting older people with their community. Intergenerational Play supports improved mood, memory and health through active participation and social connection with children and their families. These benefits extend beyond direct participation, with families and residents offered an extension of family and community through relationships formed at playgroup. A majority Labor Government will partner with Playgroup Tasmania to increase and support playgroups in aged care settings.
$200,000 to improve digital literacy – The past year has shown us how vitally important it is to prepare older Tasmanians to be digitally ready, with the digital divide being particularly of concern in rural and remote areas. Labor will invest
$200,000 in the program Digitally Ready for Life and expand the program to include outreach workers to rural and remote areas.
Improving housing for older Tasmanians – Labor recognises that Tasmania has an ageing population and a high proportion of people living with a disability. Recognising that safe and secure housing is a fundamental right, a majority Labor Government will deliver 2000 new social homes to address the waiting list, acknowledging that many older Tasmanians are languishing on the waiting list.
Women and the Prevention of Family Violence
Labor believes that society’s attitude towards family violence must change to one where violence and abuse towards women and children is not tolerated and never excused.
One in three Australian women has experienced a form of physical violence since the age of 15.
Family violence is one person using their power, whether it be physical, financial or emotional, against another person – usually a woman. Family violence is one of the most distressing and clear illustrations of the continuing unequal treatment of women in our society.
Labor is committed to taking action to eliminate the scourge of family violence and will implement a $28 million package in Government to tackle this scourge.
Government policies to date have been insufficient to meet the scale and urgency of the challenge. Labor want to empower women and men from all walks of life to break the cycles of violence in our community and create an equal and fair society for all Tasmanians.
Family Violence must stop.
More support through emergency shelters – Tasmania’s emergency shelters are at full capacity, and people presenting to these shelters have more complex needs. A majority Labor Government will employ 10 case workers to provide intensive support across our network of 23 emergency shelters. This will assist women escaping from family violence to access the critical support that they need.
The Residential Tenancy Act does not allow for women to stay in shelter accommodation after three months without a residential tenancy agreement. This can result in women being forced out before they are ready.
Labor will regulate to ensure that residential tenancy agreement are required for up to 12 months where residence is being used to provide accommodation for a person escaping family violence.
Expanded Rapid re-housing – It is important that women can move through emergency shelters into other accommodation as quickly as possible. A majority Labor Government provide an additional $6 million to expand the Rapid Re-Housing by 150 private rentals, to ensure that Tasmanian women and children have safe and secure accommodation after leaving an emergency shelter.
Funding for specialist family violence support services to meet unmet demand – It is unacceptable that there are long waiting lists for crisis response services. Labor will support the unmet demand in services to cut these waiting times for service and ensure support is provided when people need it. A majority Labor government will increase grant funding by $6 million for specialist family violence support services to meet unmet demand.
Primary prevention – Violence towards women starts with the disrespect of women, which is why a majority Labor Government will invest $4 million into significant programs to deliver on the ground services and targeted primary prevention and intervention programs. This will grow non-crisis, proactive services, providing early intervention for victims of family violence and reach people that are either experiencing family violence or those that are vulnerable to experiencing family violence, and provide them with the skills and support to change their trajectory. These programs aim to stop family violence before it happens by changing the harmful attitudes to women that lead to violence.
Women’s Legal Service Tasmania – Women fleeing family violence often need legal assistance, and that’s why a majority Labor Government will provide $2.8 million of funding support to the Women’s Legal Service Tasmania, so that they can continue to represent women experiencing family violence who require legal assistance.
Increased funding for The Family Violence Counselling Support Service – The Family Violence Counselling Support Service (FVCSS) is a vital service for Tasmanians escaping family violence. A majority Labor Government will increase the funding of the FVCSS by $3 million to help meet demand. This will fund both the continuing employment of additional staff employed during COVID and the employment of seven new staff across the state, in both adult and children’s services.
Police Training – Labor will increase resourcing for police to reinforce the training in Family Violence response.
Women’s Economic Participation – Labor will establish a Treasury led taskforce to examine the gender barriers in the economy that continue to disadvantage women.
Research shows that unconscious bias results in men more frequently getting interviews over women. Labor will introduce equal opportunity public sector job applications, a simple and practical measure to ensure that all job applicants are assessed on their merits. Removing this information from an application gives everyone an equal chance of success.
Mental Health Workers for Tasmanian Schools
Labor will recruit mental health workers to all 195 Tasmanian state primary and high schools.
The statistics around mental health issues for Australian young people
- Half of all lifelong mental health problems begin before the age of 14.
- One in seven young people aged 4 to 17 years experience a mental health condition in any given year.
- One in ten young people aged 12-17 years old will self-harm, one in 13 will seriously consider a suicide attempt, and one in 40 will attempt suicide.
- Suicide continues to be the biggest killer of young Australians.
WE MUST DO BETTER.
Labor has consulted widely and the feedback is clear – prevention and early intervention is vital in protecting a young person’s mental health.
Labor’s $40 million Mental Health Workers in Schools program will ensure Tasmanian students have access to specialist mental health support.
It will employ a range of mental health professionals such as social workers, youth workers or psychologists.
Mental health workers in schools will
- help to destigmatise mental health
- foster more supportive peer support networks
- build skills among other school staff to manage student mental health.
They will provide direct counselling support and early intervention services, as well as coordinating appropriate support for students with more severe needs.
A key aim of the initiative will be to reduce Tasmania’s youth suicide rate, which is among the highest in the country.
By identifying and treating mental ill health in children we can reduce the number of acute mental health issues presenting at our hospitals.
Mental health and wellbeing is vital for learning and life. Children who are mentally healthy learn better, benefit from life experiences and have stronger relationships with family members, school staff and peers.
Good mental health in childhood also provides a solid foundation for managing the transition to adolescence and adulthood, engaging successfully in education and having a happier life.
Only Labor has a plan to put mental health workers in every Tasmanian Government School.
Working for Tasmanians to Improve the Mental Health of Our Young People
Mental health is a serious issue
The facts around mental health issues for young Australians are startling and sad.
The fact is one in 10 young people aged 12 to 17 will self-harm, one in 13 will seriously consider a suicide attempt and one in 40 will attempt suicide.
Half of all life-long mental health issues begin before the age of 14.
We must do more to support our young people.
Labor will support Speak UP! Stay ChatTY
Labor will commit $250,000 each year for three years to Speak UP! Stay ChatTY’s Schools Program and an additional $200,000 each year for three years for the Sports Program.
Stay ChatTY and its founder Mitch McPherson do a phenomenal job providing support to young Tasmanians. With guaranteed funding, Mitch and his team will continue to do amazing work in promoting positive mental health and preventing suicide by reducing stigma and encouraging people to seek help.
Support for the Speak UP! Stay ChatTY is in addition to Labor’s $40 million commitment to recruit mental health workers to all 195 Tasmanian state primary and high schools.
It can be ruff for dog owners in Tasmania.
Labor want to ensure that we not only have a safer and more pet friendly community but also support those who reply on dogs for critical assistance.
We know that Tasmanian’s strongly value their pets and they deserve to have a quality of life that reflects that value.
Improved Dog Walking Trails and Exercise Areas – Labor will establish a $1 million fund to improve dog walking trails and exercise areas. Grants will be issued annually on the basis of dollar-for-dollar fund-matching with local councils.
A further $500,000 will be provided to assist local councils to partner with accredited dog trainers to offer community based low-cost dog training.
Labor will also develop policy guidelines for determining suitable areas for dog walking and exercise to assist local governments.
Responsible Dog Ownership – It is important that every dog owner understands their responsibilities and how to keep their dogs safe and happy. Labor will invest $500k over 4 years to support communication and education on responsible dog ownership in the community.
Support for Tasmanians with assistance animals – For those living with a physical disability or mental illness, assistance animals provide valuable therapeutic benefits to their owners, enabling them to better participate in and navigate day to day life.
Unlike all other states in Australia, Tasmania does not have a system of accreditation for assistance animals. Without a system that is able to recognise and accredit assistance animals, many owners are left with the responsibility to continually prove to private businesses that their animal is necessary to assist with their condition and that the animal is sufficiently trained.
A majority Labor Government will work towards implementing an accessible mechanism for Tasmanians living with a disability to have their assistance animals recognised. This will make life easier for Tasmanians who rely on an assistance animal.
$2 million for Guide Dogs Tasmania – Tasmania is unable to meet the identified need for properly trained guide dogs to support people with a vision impairment or blindness, autism, dementia, mental health issues and post-traumatic stress disorder.
A majority Labor Government will address this by funding Guide Dogs Tasmania with $2 million to set up a world-class breeding and training program in multiple regions across Tasmania. This will create 6 new permanent jobs and an additional 30 volunteer roles for Tasmanians.
Labor took a policy to the 2018 election to phase out poker machines from pubs and clubs.
The opportunity to do something about poker machines arose because the monopoly agreement that allows pokies in pubs and clubs expired on June 30, 2018.
Labor approached this challenging policy debate with two objectives: supporting vulnerable Tasmanians and looking after working people.
Labor’s election policy was based on evidence and extensive consultation – including meeting with the owners and representatives of over 70 gaming venues across Tasmania.
We also spoke to community leaders, charities, local government representatives, social workers, support services, small business operators and health professionals.
The Liberal Government is currently renegotiating the agreement, which will see the rights to operate poker machines handed to individual pubs and clubs until at least 2043.
Labor is awaiting the details of the Liberal Government’s policy and remains committed to reducing the harm caused by poker machines.
Labor values the contributions of our ex-service community and Veterans.
Labor knows that supporting our Veterans and their families is vital as they transition into civilian life.
Health and Wellbeing Centre for Veterans – We know that our Veterans need support with mental and physical health, and advocacy in meeting their needs.
A Labor government will support RSL Tasmania to establish a Health and Wellbeing Centre for Veterans in Huonville.
Civilian Employment – Labor understands that there is a high rate of unemployment amongst Veterans. Support and opportunities for training and employment helps veterans to transition into the civilian workforce, and assists in the retention of these families in the state.
A Labor government will also commit to developing an online support and information resource that Veterans can access to help identify their career and employment options, and their transferable skills, as they transition into the civilian workforce. This connects to Labor’s Jobs Plan and identified Jobs Hubs, Free TAFE policy and Apprenticeships for Over 35s commitments.
Labor will also commit to data collection on the number of Veteran applicants for Tasmanian public sector jobs. Our success will be achieved when 100 Veterans are employed in public sector positions, as they become available.
Child Safety Services – At risk children are not being reported or responded to because of understaffing. The Child Safety System is not operating as designed because there are not enough staff to triage and allocate the reports for appropriate response. Labor will employ an additional 25 child safety offices to bolster the child protection system, so vulnerable children don’t fall through the cracks.
Supporting Child Safety Workers – Labor recognises the important role Child Safety Service workers play as first responders to reports of children at risk. This can be deeply distressing work, but is critical to the safety of children in our communities. Labor will commit to working with staff and unions to review current mental health and wellbeing supports and to ensure appropriate formal response structures and psychological support services are accessible for staff after particularly distressing incidents, and as required by individuals.
Kin Raising Kin – The recently released report into Informal Kinship Care handed down 8 recommendations. A Labor Government is committed to working through these with carers and their representatives.
Out of Home Care and the Home Stretch Program – It is a key responsibility of Government to provide out of home care to children and young people who can’t live at home. The community expects these young people will be safe, protected from harm and receiving quality care. Labor is committed to delivering on this expectation. It is not right for vulnerable young people to lose a roof over their head and vital government support as soon as they turn 18. At the 2018 election, Labor was proud to announce our nation-leading policy to introducing the Home Stretch program, which extends out of home care until young people turn 21. Labor is proud of this policy and remains 100% committed to it.
Mental Health – Mental health is one of the biggest issues in Tasmanian schools. This is tragic on a personal level, but it is also preventing some of our students from engaging in education successfully. Labor will invest $10 million per year to ensure every school has access to a mental health worker.
Out of Home Care support – A majority Labor Government will invest nearly $40 million to build and fund supported and emergency accommodation services, including specialized accommodation for children in out of home care. We will allocate $6 million to ensure children and young people exiting out of home care in the north and north-west have somewhere safe to go, and we will provide $9 million statewide to reduce the risk of young people becoming homeless.
Commission of Inquiry into child sex abuse – It is understood that the Commission of Inquiry into child sex abuse in Tasmania will hand down its recommendations within 12 months, and it is anticipated many recommendations will be delivered in its report. A Labor Government is committed to a whole of government response.