A boost in funding for out-of-home care for vulnerable children, continued investment in reducing youth offending to keep our communities safe, and promoting inclusive communities have all featured in the 2021–22 State Budget.
The $1.86 billion budget for the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs will also fund more frontline child safety workers, create a new youth drug and alcohol treatment centre, and contribute to Queensland’s first museum to honour Holocaust survivors.
Minister for Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs Leanne Linard said early intervention to support children, young people and families would remain a key government focus.
“Keeping vulnerable families safe and supporting them in their aspirations for the future will always be my highest priority,” Ms Linard said.
“This is a budget that reflects our commitment to build safe and thriving communities, which contribute to the solid foundations needed as we continue our economic recovery from Covid-19.”
The 2021–22 Budget has $1.55 billion, including $364.5 million across five years, for child safety services, including:
- An extra 154 frontline child safety workers to be employed over the next two years through increased funding of $76.6 million over four years
- An additional $282.6 million over two years for out-of-home care to address increasing pressure and demand in the child protection system
“This funding recognises that we are seeing increasing pressure in the child protection system, and that we remain committed to adapting to these shifting demands,” Ms Linard said.
The 2021–22 Budget includes a total $290.6 million for youth justice services to reduce offending and re-offending by young people, including additional funding of:
- $7.7 million over four years and $2.5 million per annum ongoing for a new 10-bed drug and alcohol residential treatment program for young people
- $92 million over four years to fund practical actions to deal with serious repeat offenders and continue existing programs and services to tackle youth offending – including co-responder teams made up of police and youth justice workers, extended hours of supervision on weekends and at night for intensive monitoring of high-risk repeat offenders and intensive support for their families
- $5 million in infrastructure funding for a short-term remand centre and up to $11.4 million over four years (held centrally) to operate the centre
- $5.7 million for a business case to investigate additional detention centre capacity options into the future
“While this Budget places a heavy focus on interventions for young people to stop offending and reoffending, it also ensures we continue to hold offenders to account,” Ms Linard said.
The Budget includes a total of $16 million for Multicultural Affairs to continue promoting a united, harmonious and inclusive Queensland, including:
- $3.5 million as a contribution to establish a Holocaust Museum and Education Centre in Brisbane to honour victims of the Holocaust, while enabling students and the community to explore and understand the impact of racism
- $2.08 million annually for the Asylum Seeker and Refugee Assistance program to continue providing the basic necessities of food and housing, as well as other support services for asylum seekers and temporary protection visa holders
- $2.5 million annually over three years for the long-standing Community Action for a Multicultural Society program to build economic and social inclusion at a grass roots level, and $2 million annually over four years for the Celebrating Multicultural Program
“We benefit enormously from our culturally and linguistically diverse communities, which is why we will continue to reduce barriers and create opportunities that enable them to contribute to all aspects of life,” Ms Linard said.