ACOSS warmly welcomes the federal government’s commitment to financially assist local services experiencing extreme cost pressures. In Tuesday’s budget, the government will provide $560 million over four years to essential community services to ensure they can continue to help people and communities in need. Funding will be allocated to relevant departments, including the Department of Social Services and the National Indigenous Australians Agency, to be passed on to various service providers. ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said the additional funding would give essential community services a lifeline as they battle soaring inflation and rising demand. “For nearly a decade, community services have been chronically underfunded,” she said. “These services have been on the front line of Australia’s response to fires, floods and the pandemic for the past three years. “The increase in community demand over the past few years, combined with escalating inflation and wage pressures, has pushed the sector to breaking point. “Many ACOSS members were distraught at the idea of reducing services or reducing staff hours due to cost. “This latest commitment from the federal government is a great response for our sector and a welcome first step in strengthening its financial sustainability, ensuring that community organizations across the country can continue to help those in need. “Our services are essential to the well-being of the community. Our staff – approximately 80% of whom are women – are on the front line every day to help others. We must ensure that these essential services can respond to the latest emergencies with respected and properly remunerated staff. Senior adviser for community services, Rob Sturrock, said ACOSS is ready to help the government implement the policy. “We are very pleased to see the government begin to deliver on one of its election commitments in its first budget,” he said. “We look forward to helping implement the program, ensuring that it is as effective and beneficial as possible for community service providers. “While this measure will provide substantial support in the short term, we will continue to advocate for the government to improve the level of investment in community services, advocating for public funding based on the needs of the population. population. “Australia is stuck in a cycle of responding to a series of disasters such as the current flood emergencies. “People experiencing poverty, disadvantage and hardship will continue to struggle to rebuild their lives unless services are funded in a sustainable and transparent manner to support them fully in the long term.”
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