ACT budget to focus on health, housing

·2-min read

The upcoming ACT budget will look to tackle social infrastructure with pre-budget announcements focusing on housing and health.

The territory's Labor-Greens government has announced $37.5 million for mental health services such as perinatal mental health screening, enhancing perinatal, infant and child mental health and expanding the childhood early intervention team.

The cost of initiatives will be split with the Commonwealth, Chief Minister Andrew Barr says.

"Health is the largest area of ACT Budget expenditure. Canberrans can trust that we will continue to invest in our healthcare system as our city grows," Mr Barr said.

"This is a great example of the new era of cooperation between the two governments."

A record amount of land is also due to be made available by the government over the next five years to help tackle housing affordability in the capital.

The government is planning for an increase of 30,000 dwellings in the time frame as the ACT's population is predicted to eclipse 500,000 by the end of the decade.

Funding for the renewal of public housing stock and the construction of more properties marked as rentals has been slated as well.

There is also more than $13 million in additional support for alcohol and drug services, spanning rehabilitation, family and carer support and specialised treatments.

It comes as the ACT opened Australia's first static drug testing site under a pilot program.

The 2022-23 budget will be handed down on Tuesday.

The last budget handed down in October revealed a $951.5 deficit.

But the territory's balance books experienced a $181 million turnaround off the back of higher GST and taxation revenue, with the deficit dropping to $770 million in the budget review, released in March.

Net debt is expected to almost double and eclipse $9 billion by 2024-25, a figure that is revised down almost $500 million compared to the budget.

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