Jesuit Social Services welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the 2020-21 NSW State Budget. For more than ten years, Jesuit Social Services has been working in Western Sydney to help communities break out of cycles of disadvantage by developing local answers to local problems.
Our submission to the State Budget is centered on this experience, and we offer solutions to promote better outcomes for families and communities on the margins, as well as systemic reform for long term change.
Among our recommendations, we call on the NSW Government to:
- Develop a whole-of-government, long-term strategic approach to entrenched and localised disadvantage.
- Partner with Jesuit Social Services to establish targeted employment pathways in Willmot and funding to train and upskill disadvantaged individuals.
- Deliver 5,000 new social housing dwellings each year until 2026, as called for by the NSW Council of Social Service, including supported housing for individuals with multiple and complex needs.
- Invest in community-based mental health services, particularly supporting programs providing services for individuals with multiple and complex needs.
- Raise the age of criminal responsibility to 14 years and fund programs that take a restorative and welfare approach to anti-social behaviour in children under the age of 14 years.
- Invest in youth justice group conferencing to ensure the program can be provided with adequate intensity, supports, and experienced convenors, as demonstrated in other models in Australia.
- Ban solitary confinement in all NSW youth justice custodial environments.
- Invest in ‘Before it Starts’ to conduct a pilot across five primary schools throughout NSW.
- Roll out the Modelling Respect and Equality (MoRE) program across NSW schools, prisons and other sectors where there are large numbers of people working with men and boys.