Advocacy Day Puts Budget Pressure on Vic Government
Wednesday, 18th April 2012 at 12:54 pm
Representatives of Victoria’s community service organisations are putting questions directly to more than 50 of Victoria's 128 Parliamentarians today in one of the largest coordinated Budget lobbying efforts of recent years.
Described as Advocacy Day, dozens of representatives from frontline service providers are at Parliament to personally warn MPs that a growing number of Victorians will face a bleak economic future if there are any cuts to frontline services in next month’s Budget.
The representatives says they are calling on MPs from all sides of politics for secure funding for vital programs that help millions of Victorians.
‘In uncertain economic times it is vitally important that all sides of politics commit to funding services that help Victorians who are experiencing disadvantage,’ said Cath Smith, CEO of the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS).
‘Many of the organisations we represent are already reporting a greater demand for their services. The impact of increasing unemployment and job uncertainty, along with associated rises in financial stress and means a rise in clients seeking support for housing services, financial counselling and emergency relief services.’
‘To compound these challenges, the slowed economic environment has also resulted in reduced corporate donations which are crucial to effective frontline service delivery,’Smith said.
Many community sector organisations are funded under three year funding agreements with the State Government which are designed to ensure funding to agencies is indexed appropriately so that organisations can continue to provide a consistent level of services regardless of wage increases and inflationary growth.
“These current funding agreements with community services are due to expire on 30 June, 2012 and to date there has been no indication from Government about the details of new funding agreements for the 2012/13 financial year,” Smith said.
VCOSS will also release a report, called Sustaining the Frontline, which proposes a 5-point plan to improve the sustainability and consistency of services delivered by the sector.
‘There is a real capacity for the sector and the government to work together on a path forward that provides certainty, productivity and efficient use of taxpayer funds,’ Smith said.
‘It’s not just about this year’s Budget, it’s about putting in place a sustainable funding model so that our agencies can get on with doing what they do best – delivering much needed services directly to Victorians experiencing disadvantage.”
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