22 May 2015
False economy won’t save the budget
The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, has joined calls for the State Government to reinstate funding to the Salvation Army’s Reintegration for Ex-Offenders (REO) program.
Mr Wilkie has written to the Human Services Minister, Jacqui Petrusma, to warn that the budget saving is actually a false economy that will increase the likelihood of ex-offenders re-offending.
``I have been told that an evaluation of this program found that for every $100,000 spent by government there is an expected saving of $1.1 million in terms of incarceration, court and policing costs,’’ Mr Wilkie said.
``Cutting this program therefore is clearly a false economy and frankly I think it is downright irresponsible. Turfing ex-offenders out into the community without housing or social supports leaves them much more likely to reoffend. I understand it will also mean that prisoners applying for parole will automatically be rejected because they will not have access to appropriate accommodation upon release.
``I ask that the State Government fully fund the REO program over the next financial year and through the forward estimates.’’
Mr Wilkie’s call comes as a coalition of leading Tasmanian social service, housing, legal and union voices warn that cutting the program will lead to increased costs to the state and reduced community safety.
A copy of Mr Wilkie’s letter to Minister Petrusma is attached. Andrew_Wilkie_to_Minister_Petrusma_May_15.pdf
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