Delivering support where it is needed most

Released 22/01/2019 - Joint media release

  • Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Yvette Berry (Media contact officer Megan Cursley)
  • Minister for Disability, Minister for Children, Youth and Families, Rachel Stephen-Smith (Media contact officer Caitlin Cook)
  • Minister for Seniors and Veterans, Gordon Ramsay (Media contact officer Anton Gallacher)

Today’s release of data from the Productivity Commission’s 2019 Report on Government Services shows the ACT is successfully targeting public and community housing to people in greatest need; prioritising connection to kin, community and culture for children in care; and recording high levels of satisfaction with the NDIS.

“We know Canberrans care about people in our community who are going through a tough time or living with daily challenges, which is why we are committed to delivering efficient support when Canberrans need it," said Chief Minister and Minister for Social Inclusion, Andrew Barr.

“An inclusive city is one where everyone has a safe and suitable place to live, including those living with disability, in aged care or in the youth justice system. We’re proud of the work we’re doing to deliver these services to our community.”


“The ACT has the strongest result nationally in providing housing assistance for the people who need it most. This includes people experiencing homelessness and domestic violence, as well as people in unhealthy living situations, and those experiencing housing stress in the private market,” said Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Yvette Berry.

Of the 524 new allocations to public housing in the ACT in 2017-18, 99.4 per cent were households in greatest need, compared to 76.3 per cent nationally.

The latest national tenant survey shows our tenants have high satisfaction rates, with a noticeable improvement in reports about the condition of their homes.

“The ACT Government is also delivering benefits through the renewal program to improve better energy efficiency, water efficiency and thermal comfort as well as helping tenants feel safer in their neighbourhood,” Minister Berry said.

  • The proportion of new public housing allocations to households with special needs in the ACT was 63.2 per cent, higher than the national average of 60.7 per cent.
  • Of the 10,621 households in public housing at 30 June 2018, 98.7 per cent were low income households.
  • The ACT had the lowest over-crowding rate for community housing at 1.3 per cent, compared to 4.3 per cent nationally at 30 June 2018.


“The ACT Government’s early intervention and prevention approach to homelessness is also doing well, offering the right support early on to some of the most vulnerable members of our community,” Minister Berry said.

“The ACT is bucking a national trend with homelessness reducing in our community, even as our population grows,” Minister Berry said.

In 2018, an analysis of 2016 Census figures showed homelessness around Australia rose by 13 per cent since the previous Census, while in the ACT it fell by 8 per cent. That’s despite the Territory’s total population growing by as much as 11 per cent.

“The ACT is also leading the nation in employment and training outcomes for people accessing homelessness support services, with the highest proportion of clients, who wanted to participate, achieving this goal.

“The 2018-19 Budget allocated $6.5 million to also address gaps in the homelessness service system, including for the development of programs to support older women and migrant families who are homeless or at risk,” Minister Berry said.

“The ACT Housing Strategy demonstrates the government’s ongoing commitment to intervene early and reduce the intergenerational impacts of homelessness, address gaps, improve pathways out of homelessness and stop the cycles of poverty.”

Child protection

“Placement stability is a key focus of the ACT’S five year strategy, A Step Up for Our Kids – One Step Can Make a Lifetime of Difference (A Step Up) and has improved significantly since the strategy was introduced,” said Minister for Children, Youth and Families, Rachel Stephen-Smith.

“94.6 per cent of children exiting out of home care within 12 months were doing so after only one or two placements in 2017-18, significantly higher than the 2015-16 proportion of 76.7 per cent.”

Connection to kin, community and culture continues to be a priority within A Step Up, and the ACT has a long term trend, since 2011-12, of increasing the proportion of children in care who are placed with relatives or kin, rather than in foster or residential care.

“For the third year in a row, the ACT has Australia’s second-highest rate of placements with relatives of kin – 56.5 per cent in 2017-18 and 60.8 per cent among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children,” said Minister Stephen-Smith.

Youth justice services

“The ACT Government has made significant progress in youth justice through the Blueprint for Youth Justice in the ACT 2012-22, to ensure we have a system that focuses on rehabilitation and providing opportunities for young people,” Minister Stephen-Smith said.

“The ACT had the lowest proportion of young people returning to sentenced youth justice supervision, at 13.3 per cent compared with 51.3 per cent nationally.

“The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in detention decreased by 50 per cent between 2011–12 and 2017−18, and the number supervised in the community fell by 34 per cent.”

There remains an over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in the youth justice system, which is why it’s a priority for the Blueprint for Youth Justice Taskforce.

“Over the next phase of the Blueprint, we will continue to prioritise early intervention and diversion, and draw on evidence about what works, including from the experience of other states and territories,” Minister Stephen-Smith said.

Services for people with disability

“The ACT was proud to be the first jurisdiction to sign up to the NDIS and to transition all eligible residents into the Scheme,” said Minister for Disability, Rachel Stephen-Smith.

The number of ACT participants with approved plans has increased to 6,141 as at 30 June 2018.

“The NDIS has been life changing for many people. However, we know that there is more to do to make the NDIS everything it should be.”

The 2018-19 ACT Budget allocated $1.1 million to establish an Integrated Service Response program to improve coordination between NDIS and mainstream services and provide emergency funding for people with disability with high and complex support needs not met by the NDIS.

“The ACT Government continues to work closely with the National Disability Insurance Agency and the Commonwealth to ensure Canberrans with a disability get the best possible outcome from this once in a generation reform,” Minister Stephen-Smith said.

The number Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accessing NDA open employment services in the ACT is increasing, from 4.7 per cent in 2015-16 to 6.5 per cent in 2016-17.

Aged care

“Supportive and well-funded aged care facilities are incredibly important to the ACT community, which is not only increasing in size, but also getting older,” said Minister for Seniors and Veterans, Gordon Ramsay.

“These conditions coupled with inadequate funding arrangements from the Commonwealth has seen some ACT residents requiring high levels of care having to wait in excess of 12 months for the services they need.

“With facilities opening new beds and movement of patients to these beds, we anticipate a slight improvement in wait times for entry into ACT aged care services in 2018-19, however the ACT Government believes Commonwealth funding for these services can and should be increased.

“On a positive note, for older people transitioning home after a hospital stay, the ACT recorded the nation’s highest average measures of functioning in daily living, at both the entry and exit to a Transition Care Programme in 2017-18.”

- Statement ends -

Section: Yvette Berry, MLA | Rachel Stephen-Smith, MLA | Media Releases

Media Contacts

Name Phone Mobile Email

Caitlin Cook

(02) 6207 8731   

0434 702 827

Anton Gallacher

(02) 6207 3795   

0422 574 108

Megan Cursley

(02) 6207 1653

0435 960 505

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