Government/Community Sector Relationships
8 November 2001 at 12:11 pm
Over sixty leading agencies have jointly called on the major parties to develop a Formal Agreement that better defines the Federal Government’s relationship with the community sector.
ACOSS President Michael Raper says community welfare agencies are under enormous pressure from delivering services for Government with insufficient resources.
Raper says he wants the major political parties to commit to a new deal — a negotiated relationship which respects the sector’s full role, not just in service delivery but in policy development to find solutions, and in advocacy on behalf of clients’ needs.
ACOOS called for the review during the release of its annual survey report called Australians Living on the Edge (No 4) which shows that business contributions to funding community organisations are down on last year.
The report shows that 1.56% of welfare agency income came from business in 2001 compare to 1.90% in 2000.
He says both the Government and the Corporate Community sector share fundamental obligations to support families and individuals and strengthen communities.
However, the ACOSS boss says the roles of Government and the welfare sector have changed profoundly over the past 15 years. Respective governments have asked the community welfare sector to do more and yet the implications of these changes, including concerns about community groups’ loss of independence, have not been fully considered.
He says an Agreement should be based on these shared obligations and provide the basis for:
1: Tangible improvements in the well-being of individuals and the community, including more equitable access to the economic and social resources that enable people to lead meaningful lives.
2: Greater participation by people in the decisions that affect their lives.
3: Concrete demonstration that diversity of opinion is respected and championed.
4: The integration of the community welfare sector’s expertise in government policy development.
ACOSS says dialogue must begin to ensure that the Federal Government and the community sector work effectively together to reduce pressure on the sector and its clients and restore confidence in the capacity of governments, the sector and the wider community to achieve commonly desired social goals.