Every year the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services is released over several weeks. Huge spreadsheets which detail where certain services in each state and territory are at each financial year, including specific outcomes to the funding allocated.
The ROGS release for the 2021-22 year started last week, with data on services like housing and child safety. This week data released included services in Justice and Emergency Management.
The whole idea of the ROGS was for the data to be comparable across states and trackable, to ensure services are funded to provide the same level of service. But now, when the data is published, we are told by State Governments that data can’t be compared. We couldn’t find much good news in the Reports. Here are the headlines:
Child Safety: key points
44 per cent of investigations took 29 days or longer to start in 2020-21. This increased in 2021-22, with 55.7 per cent of cases taking more than 29 days for investigations to start.
Finishing child safety investigations also took longer last financial year, with 64.5 per cent taking more than 90 days.
CPSU Tasmania Acting Secretary Tom Lynch told the ABC: “If you had sufficient staffing and you had good systems in place for your recruitment, you should be able to keep your staff in place. At the moment, people leave because it’s a terrible place to work.”
Click here to read the article: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-01-25/fears-for-at-risk-kids-as-child-protection/101891164
Child Safety needs funding and resources to meet demand – children cannot wait Premier Rockliff!
The latest Report on Government Services shows that there are fewer properties available, despite a growing need.
Public housing waiting lists are up, but the number of tenantable dwellings is down. Expenditure on public housing has dropped since the last report, and the number of public housing properties transferred out of public hands has increased.
Turnaround time for vacant public housing has also increased.
We need investment in public housing to help alleviate this crisis. What we are seeing is the opposite: outsourcing and austerity. Everyone should have access to a roof over their heads to provide security, safety, and dignity.
The news wasn’t great for the Tasmanian Prison Service. The rate of assaults on officers increased from 2020-21 to 2021-22. Prison design capacity utilisation was lower during this period for all prisons.
Those in prison also had less daily time out of their cells.
The ABC also reported that the incarceration rates for Tasmanian Aboriginals in prison has more than doubled overthe last decade.
The Examiner reported that the rate of recidivism in Tasmania was the second highest out of any state or territory: https://www.examiner.com.au/story/8067836/tassie-tops-country-for-recidivism/
Community Corrections: the number of offenders to total staff increased between the 2020-21 to 2021-22 financial years. During this time the offender population increased. Clearly the Tasmanian Prison Service and Community Corrections have some work to do. And by this we mean increase staffing levels to meet demand.
Youth Justice: The data from this area is based on really low figures: there isn’t much change or much to report, with the numbers of young people in the Tasmanian system so low compared to other states. Average daily number of young people dropped from 80 to 65 from 2020-21 to 2021-22; with those in Community-based supervision down from 72 to 57, and those in detention remaining at 8.
Courts: Backlogs are up for both civil and criminal cases in the Magistrates Court from 2020-21 to 2021-22, and cases are taking longer. Finalisations and clearance rates are also down during this time for both civil and criminal matters.
Increased backlog, lower clearance rates and cases taking longer all mean it takes Tasmanians longer to get justice.
Response times for structure fires increased, including and excluding the call taking time from 2020-21 to 2021-22. Click here to read the Examiner article on this: https://www.examiner.com.au/story/7597487/house-fires-in-tasmania-halve-over-the-past-decade/
Opinions about police professionalism, honesty and treating people also saw a decline from 2020-21 to 2021-22, and satisfaction rates are also down.
These are just a snippet from the Report on Government Services, with health data released in the wee hours of Thursday morning. Education and training data set to be released after midnight on Tuesday.
All this data points towards the need for demand-based funding. Clearly services are overwhelmed and demand-based staffing and resources are needed.