Deputy Premier and Treasurer the Honourable Jackie Trad MP yesterday (12 June 2018) launched her first budget with a leading message about the need to invest in infrastructure, skills and services to support our growing population – we have recently hit the 5 million mark – and respond to rapid economic and social change.
The Queensland economy has entered a growth phase and with this, we are experiencing employment growth with the rate forecast to increase to 2.75% over the 2018-19 financial year. While this is good news indeed for job seekers and our economy, it predicts increased competition for employees and exacerbation of existing workforce supply issues in the health and community services industry.
Investment in training, skills and employment pathways is critical to meeting the demand for the right people in the right place with the right skills in human services. The Health and Community Services Workforce Council (Workforce Council) is pleased to see these priorities being supported through the 2018-19 Queensland Budget:
- $770 million allocation to the Vocational Education and Training Investment Plan in 2018-2019, which includes a $20 million boost to the successful Skilling Queenslanders for Work (SQW) initiative bringing the total SQW budget to $80m in 2018-19
- An additional $155 million for the Back to Work Regional Program, and $20.5 million to continue the Back to Work program in areas of South East Queensland
- $85 million in the education budget to upgrade TAFE campuses across the state, including a $500,000 nurse training centre at Caboolture and a $1 million upgrade of nursing training facilities at Loganlea
- $2.5 million to continue delivery of the successful Transition 2 Success training and employment program for young people in the youth justice system
- Payroll tax rebates for apprentices and trainees to remain at 50% for another year at a cost of $26 million.
These initiatives also provide opportunities for all Queenslanders to participate in work, to contribute to – and benefit from – the strength of our community and economy. The Workforce Council has recently secured a commitment to building inclusive workplaces across Queensland Industries. We recognise the contribution that diversity makes to productivity, innovation and business outcomes. We need to ensure that the macro-economic benefits we realise through investment flow through to the whole community.
Community services workforce highlights
The Workforce Council welcomes a continued strong commitment to implementing child, youth and family reforms; domestic and family violence responses; the transition to the NDIS; and a focus on addressing housing and homelessness. Key investments with workforce impact include:
- $52.8 million to continue implementation of reforms in child protection system including additional frontline jobs
- $20 million to support foster and kinship carers caring for children and young people with complex and challenging behaviours
- $14.2 million for new and enhanced specialist and generalist domestic and family violence services across the state
- $9.5 million for disability advocacy support services
- $10 million for community nursing and allied health services through the Community Care program for people who have transitioned to the NDIS
- $10.2 million for extra frontline staff at Brisbane Youth Detention Centre and Townsville’s Cleveland Youth Detention Centre.
Health workforce highlights
Health continues to command the largest spend with $17.3 billion allocated to the 2018-19 operating budget (exclusive of infrastructure), up by over $700 million. We particularly welcome investment in workforce growth to equip our system to meet the future needs of our growing and ageing population, including:
- A record budget of $800 million for ambulance services, including 100 new ambulance officers next financial year
- Funding to provide continued support for commitment to 3,500 more nurses (including Nurse Navigators) and midwives over four years (2016 – 2020).
The Workforce Council applauds this significant investment in the delivery of health and community services. We also take this opportunity to highlight that workforce is the infrastructure of our industry and thus, investment in strategic workforce planning is critical to human services outcomes.