Security Needed After Queensland Election
Thursday, 5th February 2015 at 10:14 am
The community sector, like the business sector, needs a swift resolution to the Queensland election to provide certainty to support the most vulnerable in the community and to secure funding for those who provide that support, writes Belinda Drew from the Community Services Industry Alliance.
I am not a commentator and do not intend to become one but the scene must be set.
Across the State of Queensland on the evening of Saturday 31 January many thousands of people gathered before their television screens, and other media devices, to watch the results come in from the polling booths.
As the results from the election were reported surprise started to set in.
It is a reasonable statement of fact to say that a lot of people were expecting a reduced Liberal National Party majority in the Queensland Parliament and an increased Labor presence. Very few people expected the swings against the Liberal National Party that were reported on our screens.
By then end of the evening we had witnessed a swing to the Labor Party delivering them a close to election win. I say close to election win because as many commentators had predicted Queenslanders now faces a hung Parliament.
Six days following the election the result is not clear, the Government remains in caretaker mode. Government stakeholders remain in limbo.
It is not my intent to make an analysis of the politics that underpin this result, this I will leave to others.
I am interested in a discussion about the contribution the result of this election makes to an existing feeling of uncertainty and instability across the Community Services Industry.
As with many Industries, the Community Services Industry faces significant change.
Broadly, community service organisations accept change as an important part of reaching a sustainable, effective and efficient future for the Industry. In fact industry advocates, leaders and practitioners alike are actively working to identify the elements that shape a future state and mapping the pathway to get there.
The political and policy environment in which the Industry operates is critical to supporting this process of change. This is not what we are currently experiencing.
Business, both big and small, is calling for a swift resolution to this uncertain election result in order to provide certainty and stability and to promote a secure economic environment for business growth and employment certainty.
The Community Services Industry seeks a similar outcome – a swift resolution to a political situation that provides certainty to support the most vulnerable in our community and to secure funding that will create employment stability for those that provide that support.
What was begun under the LNP Government is not complete and is in limbo.
The uncertainty arising out of this affects all aspects of the business of community service organisations – their ability to plan ahead, to respond to increased demand and to provide employment stability and indeed innovate.
Once a resolution is found and Government is formed, regardless of which party forms Government it is critical that they take a thoughtful and careful approach to policy that supports Industry led change complemented by investment that provides certainty and stability for organisations and their employees.
As a key investor, the Queensland Government is a critical partner and their clear and decisive action will support a stronger Community Services Industry, which will ultimately deliver better outcome for vulnerable people in our communities.
About the author: Belinda Drew has over 20 years’ experience in the community services industry having worked across the fields of disability, homelessness, child protection and housing. During the most recent decade of her career Belinda has spent her time focused on building the Social Investment Market in Australia in her role as the CEO of Foresters Community Finance. She now heads up the newly formed Community Services Industry Alliance in Queensland to promote the value and contribution of the community services industry.