Federal Budget for the Third Sector
Friday, 16th May 2008 at 1:45 pm
The Rudd Government’s first Budget aimed at ‘working families’ has had a mostly supportive response for the Australian Not for Profit Sector with a few provisos.
In the much debated area of child care, the National Association of Community Based Children’s Services (NACBCS) welcomed the Rudd Budget with its investment in initiatives it says will make a real difference to Australia’s children:
– $114.5m capital funding for the first 38 of the promised 260 Children’s Centres on school sites and community land:
Lynne Wannan, National Convenor of NACBCS says $3 million per centre is a real investment in the capacity of local communities to build and deliver integrated early childhood education, care, health and welfare services.
However she called on the Rudd Government to ensure that this funding goes to Not for Profit providers so every cent of public funds goes to public purposes and none goes to private profit.
– Investment in an Early Years Learning Framework and rigorous quality standards for child care and preschool:
Wannan says this is a real attempt to break down silos and will lay solid foundations for a holistic approach to learning and development for young children.
NACBCS urge the Government to consult with the early childhood services sector to make sure these initiatives hit the mark.
In the area of welfare, the tax cut and one off payments have been welcomed but Anglicare says more ongoing support is needed.
Anglicare Sydney’s CEO Peter Kell says Budget is providing the important first steps towards fulfilling the Government’s social inclusion agenda.
The increased funding for the aged care sector, funding to ease access to affordable housing, one off payments to carers, a new employment services model were welcomed.
Kell says other welcomed initiatives include changes to the system of temporary protection visas for refugees and the increase of places allocated under the humanitarian migration program.
However Kell says where the budget could have gone further was in more investment in ongoing care and support structures for the vulnerable members of our community.
He says the tax cuts and child care rebates will be welcomed by low income families with jobs, but we would also like to have seen greater investment that addressed disadvantage.
In the area of housing and rental affordability, the respective funds to help ease the housing affordability crisis are a welcomed step in easing the burden on many of the low income families we help. However, Anglicare is disappointed that there was neither mention of greater funding for casework programs nor more investment in crisis accommodation for those at risk of homelessness.
He says there was also no mention of more capital funding for housing people with a disability nor were there mentions of greater ongoing community support for these people.
The Australian Arts Council says the Rudd Budget features some significant wins for the arts.
Australia Council chief executive Kathy Keele says the Budget offers some particularly positive outcomes for community arts, arts and education and young and emerging artists.
She says the Government showed its support for the arts by handing down a budget that delivered on key elements of its election platform.
The two initiatives worth $11.8 million over four years to support young and emerging artists and to bring artists into schools will help groom the next generation of practicing artists and better engage the next generation of Australians with the arts.
Keele says the Government’s confirmation of the $10 million Creative Communities initiative also demonstrates its commitment to giving all Australians the opportunity to experience the arts in the places where they live.
Keele highlighted that funding for artists and arts organisations was being maintained, despite the application of an additional two percent efficiency dividend on the Australia Council’s base budget.