Greens promise to improve the community sector

johnboy 24 September 2012 3

For those playing at home there’s a vast shadow arm of Government called the “community sector” the vast majority of its funding comes from Government payments to deliver programs the Government wants, but is unwilling to deliver directly.

With that in mind the Greens have announced their plans to “reform” this murky area:

ACT Greens have started the work to rebuild a youth and family support sector in disarray, due to a flawed reform process, and to abolish the ‘tax’ on community sector organisations to pay for Government reforms.

Greens spokesperson for Children and Young People and Community Services, Meredith Hunter MLA, outlined $6.5 million dollars of direct service funding, but stated that this was just the beginning of a longer journey to fix the system.

“Since April 2011, I have said that the new Service Delivery Framework for the Children, Youth and Family Sector will do immense damage to youth services, in particular early intervention services,” Ms Hunter said.

“Community service agencies have been telling me that the realignment of these programs have created a significant gap in services, in particular for young people and those who are not yet in crisis but clearly at-risk.

“Despite this, Minister Burch has continued on, ignoring the advice of Families ACT – the peak for family support services, together with the Youth Coalition of the ACT – the peak body for youth affairs in the ACT, and dismissing the broader sector’s concerns.

That is why the ACT Greens will immediately allocate $1.2 million per year to youth engagement programs, in line with the recent urgent request from the Youth Coalition of the ACT and Families ACT. These funds would go towards supporting youth engagement programs such as youth centres and outreach.

“I was further disappointed at the mean spirited approach of the Minister when it was announced in May this year that at least $1.4m over the next 3 years will be taken away from vital community services in order to fund projects that include reducing government imposed red tape.

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3 Responses to Greens promise to improve the community sector
Truthiness Truthiness 11:48 am 25 Sep 12

“Families ACT” are similarly nonrepresentational, and are even more heavily controlled by church groups.

So the greens are funding the churches, that’s a relief, I was worried some of the richest religious groups in the world might go bankrupt if we didn’t publicly subsidise them!

What is truly sad is that these church groups are only so prevalent because they are doing the jobs government is failing to do.

Truthiness Truthiness 11:37 am 25 Sep 12

“peak body” is an interesting way of saying “lobbyists”. The “youth coalition” doesn’t seem to actually have any member groups composed of youth, just groups that claim to know what is best for youth. Here is their membership list

With groups like “Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association” and a long list of church groups, I’d say they are tying to control youth more than represent them. Seriously, the most prominently advertised event on their site is a “comorbidity bus tour”, that’ll be a hit with the kids!

emd emd 10:49 am 25 Sep 12

Your editorial opening para sounds like you think the community sector are reactive to what the government thinks are useful services to the community. That’s not how it works.

The community sector – non-profits run by a mix of volunteers and workers often paid at a lower rate than public servants to do similar jobs – are driven by a desire to improve their local community. They work hard to convince government to fund services where community donations and other fundraising won’t cover the gap. And they often do it at a cheaper price than the public service, or with the benefit of deeper knowledge of the people they are providing direct services to as a result of their years (for some organisations, even a century) of work in that area.

Anyone can get involved in community sector organisations – just pick a non-profit whose philosophy aligns with your own, and you can have direct input into the work they do through participating in member meetings and rolling up your sleeves to support the community.

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