May 28, 2016

Labor boots Reclink

A Shorten Labor Government will recognise the important work that Reclink does in providing and promoting sport and art programs for people experiencing disadvantage.

Reclink targets some of the community’s most vulnerable and isolated people, including those experiencing mental health challenges, disability, homelessness, substance abuse, correctional services, economic hardship and in culturally and linguistic diverse communities.

It provides unique sports and arts programs that improve the lives of participants, their families and their communities.

Reclink fills a gap in the social welfare system. It does not provide hand-outs; it engages the disadvantaged in our community, creates relationships and support networks, drives social inclusion and cohesion and provides participants with an avenue toward re-entry into mainstream society.

As a result, Reclink also reduces pressure on Federal Government expenditure in many areas, including the health, mental health, welfare and justice systems.

The Centre for Sport and Social Impact at La Trobe University performed a detailed analysis into the efficacy of Reclink’s activities in February 2014. This research concluded that:

“Reclink programs are a catalyst for a better life for many of the participants…One of the greatest benefits from participating in Reclink Australia activities appears to be regular access to a support network, and being part of a community of people who have had similar experiences or difficulties.”

Despite this research, the Abbott-Turnbull Government abolished all federal funding to Reclink in the 2014 Budget, leading to a drastic reduction in services and engagement opportunities provided by Reclink.

Following the Liberals’ cuts, 56,000 fewer people were able to access recreation and arts opportunities provided by Reclink and over 7,600 fewer activities were run by Reclink.

A Shorten Labor Government will reinstate the annual $600,000 of Federal Government funding cut by the Liberals to Reclink. This represents a funding commitment of $2.4 million over the forward estimates.

Labor congratulates the staff and board of Reclink for the incredible work they do in our communities. Long may it continue.