WA Budget Delivers Record Funding for NFPs
23 May 2011 at 5:12 pm
The WA Not for Profit sector has applauded the Barnett Government for providing record levels of funding for the NFP sector in the 2011-12 Western Australian State Budget.
The cornerstone of the WA Government’s 2011/12 budget is a $1billion social services package, including additional funding of $604 million over five years to ensure a sustainable Not for Profit sector.
The package also includes $18 million ear-marked for education, training and support to the public and NFP sectors, and $96 million dedicated to the application of the Non-Government Human Services Sector Indexation Policy for payments to NFP organisations, recognising the ongoing growth in costs to the sector.
Barnett told ABC Radio that such a funding move has no parallel in WA, and perhaps Australian history at a state level, where so much money has been put into those people and families who are most in need.
Barnett said the money, which will be distributed to more than 300 organisations from July 1st, will come with ‘no strings’ attached as to how it will be spent.
Barnett said he expected the boost in funding will go towards better pay for workers in the community-services sector to improve training, recruitment and retention of staff.
Peak body for social service organisations in Western Australia, WACOSS says the Barnett Government’s 2011/12 Budget has delivered a landmark decision that will protect the critical services on which WA communities rely.
WACOSS says the budget’s $1billion social services package – and the decision to increase funding to the community services sector by an average 25% over the next three years – will make a real difference to more than 300,000 community services workforce and the hundreds of thousands of people they help every day.
WACOSS CEO Irina Cattalini says the move shows how serious Premier Barnett is about rebuilding the Government’s relationship with the Not for Profit sector.
Cattalini says it’s a significant step towards addressing serious shortfalls in funding that have worsened over recent years, leading to many workers being lured away from the community sector.
WACOSS says the increase in funding will mean Western Australian service providers will be able to meet some or all of the outcomes of the landmark pay equity decision from Fair Work Australia, without risking jobs losses or cuts to services.
Executive Director of Community Employers WA, James Lawton says the Barnett Government should be commended for taking this bold step to secure vital services and undertake genuine social reform.
Lawton says the wages paid to Not for Profit, community services staff have been woefully low, however the sector will now be better able to attract, recruit and retain qualified and experienced staff.
Lawton called on the Government Government to fully fund any pay increased to the sector that are passed through Fair Work Australia later this year. He says if it fails to do so, it could potentially undermine the good work achieved in Western Australia by the State Government and the community services sector.