At 2pm yesterday the Queensland State Budget 2024-2025 was made public. You can view all of the budget papers on the Treasury website here.

We have met with the DTATSIPCA and gone through the budget papers.

What’s in the budget for Neighbourhood Centres?

  • $5.4 million over 2 years to support Neighbourhood Centres to combat the effects of isolation and loneliness. Included in this package is $5.4M over two years for a trial of social prescribing in Queensland, facilitated by 10 Social Prescribing Link Workers operating out of Neighbourhood Centres to create better connections for Queensland families to combat the effects of social isolation and loneliness
  • An additional $1.7 million in 2024–25 for Emergency Relief funding to allow for the continuation of increased provision of Emergency Relief in communities across Queensland, including through an additional 92 Neighbourhood Centres and into discrete First Nations communities. This extends Emergency Relief funding until June 2025.
  • An additional $1.1 million in 2024–25 for the Queensland Financial Resilience Program, delivered by our partners Good Shepherd Australia through a number of Neighbourhood Centres,  which will see to people experiencing financial hardship to improve their capacity to manage their personal finances.
  • $21.8 million to continue a program of works to progress the establishment of new and replacement Neighbourhood Centre buildings throughout Queensland including Manunda, Agnes Water, Kowanyama, Emerald, Manoora and Labrador.
    Manunda, Manoora and Bribie Island buildings are already under construction.
    Emerald’s new building is already in the planning phase.
    Rockhamption has been built and is under procurement.
    Agnes Waters may be a new build but there’s already a funded Neighbourhood Centre in operation there.
    Our budget recommendations emphasised the need to provide operational funding to unfunded Neighbourhood Centres around the state however the government continues a “build and procure” approach to establishing new Neighbourhood Centre sites. Despite our concerns with this approach, the state will receive two new centres that will presumably come with operational funding at Kowanyama and Labrador.     From this $21.8 million, there is:

    • $6.8 million to continue with upgrades to existing Neighbourhood Centres and other key social infrastructure. This is carried over from previous commitments.
    • $2.4 million to complete the redevelopment of the Bribie Island Neighbourhood Centre. This is carried over from previous commitments.
    • $3.2 million towards the construction of a new Neighbourhood Centre in Rockhampton. This is carried over from previous commitments.

What’s in the State Budget directly to help people doing it tough?

This is a cost-of-living budget, and will bring some much needed relief.

  •  $11.218 billion in concessions to lower household bills and support Queenslanders when they need it most.
  • $3.1 billion investment as part of Homes for Queenslanders to build more homes faster, support Queensland renters, help first homeowners into the market, boost the social housing Big Build, and work towards ending homelessness.
  • $502 million to deliver the Putting Queensland Kids First Plan to support Queensland kids from their earliest years.
  • A permanent 20 per cent funding uplift for state funded domestic, family and sexual violence services.

 For individuals this looks like: 

  • From 1 July: $1000 off energy bills
  • From 5 August: 20% off car rego fees
  • From 5 August: 50c public transport fares
  • From 1 July: $200 fairplay vouchers
  • Explore more concessions and rebates here


What next for Neighbourhood Centres in the lead up to the State Election?

We were glad to see Neighbourhood Centres recognised in the budget, with continuation of previous commitments, extension of some critical programs and some additional funding towards new programs.

Neighbourhood Centres were identified and recognised as key social infrastructure in an upcoming trial of Social Prescribing across the state. NCQ is currently participating in an Expert Reference Group which will shape what this trial looks like.

An extension of State Emergency Relief funding will also be welcomed by the sector as many have found this extremely valuable for community members.

We were glad to see two new Neighbourhood Centres announced which will increase the total number of Centres to 131, however the outcome does not provide operational funding to any of the existing 27 unfunded Neighbourhood Centres around the state.

We are stronger each year, and together we are working towards a stronger sector. October is the State Election, and between now and then we will be working on and promoting sector election asks and calling for election commitments. Funding of unfunded Centres is still a high priority and we will continue to work towards more funded Centre sites across the state.

Published: 12 June 2024