NT Cuts Community Sector Funding
7 December 2012 at 9:59 am
The Australian Council of Social Service has expressed alarm at the Northern Territory Government’s decision to cut nearly $5m to the community sector, including targeting the region’s peak body NTCOSS.
“Cutting $4.8 million from groups that play such a vital role in our community is a major setback in our long term efforts to deal with entrenched disadvantage in the Territory,” ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said.
“We all know the extent of the problems, especially in the child protection area, so ripping money from community organisations funded through the Office of Children and Families is a significant backwards step."
The Mills Government announced the cutbacks in the recent Mini-Budget.
The Children and Families Minister, Robyn Lambley said: “The Government has undertaken a review of all funding and funding commitments for non government services provided by the Office of Children and Families and determined that $4.8 million in 2012-13 will be redirected to meeting greater demand pressures for services to children and families.”
“The refocus of funding to non-government organisations will be based on value for money and the delivery of real outcomes for our most vulnerable children and families.
“We are in the process of notifying affected NGOs and peak bodies and will announce details in coming days.
“The number of executive contract staff will be reduced and recruitment to non frontline positions will be frozen."
However, ACOSS says this is not the way for a new Government to start relations with the sector that does the heavy lifting in our community.
“This is the sector that people turn to when they fall into hard times, the sector supporting people facing horrific life stories. Our groups, workers and volunteers are the ones left to pick up the pieces, supporting people to rebuild their lives and be included in our society," Dr Goldie said.
“ACOSS is also disappointed the Government is targeting the sector’s peak body NTCOSS, which has been told it will lose more than half of its funding. This will have a significant impact on their ability to provide support to NGO’s across the NT.
“Minister Lambley appears to have ignored the advice of the Growing Them Strong, Together Board of Inquiry recommendations, which included building the capacity of the NGO sector including peak bodies. These recommendations were developed by a panel of experts after widespread consultation across the Territory. We need to know the basis for the Minister’s disregard for this expert advice,” Dr Goldie said.
“ACOSS calls on the Territory Government to be transparent about the future direction, including the evidence it’s founded on, and work with NGO sector if we are to truly improve the lives of vulnerable children and families in Territory,” she said.