Private Capital Investment Needed to Expand Welfare System - Morrison
26 June 2015 at 12:50 pm
Federal Minister for Social Services Scott Morrison has told the ACOSS National Conference that private capital investment in addressing social needs is the best approach to strengthening and expanding Australia’s welfare system.
Speaking before some 300 delegates in Sydney, Morrison said that an investment approach to welfare was the way forward alongside the charitable sector.
“Private capital investment in addressing social needs – charity must continue, and I believe it will – but real commercial investment is needed in addressing social challenges the country faces,” Morrison said.
“Non-Government providers are not new to the sector particularly when it comes to service delivery – you do it better than the Government ever can and I think that’s been one of the lessons over the last four years.
“We need to continue to build institutional capability and capacity of the non-Government sector for the delivery of these services but the big innovation that we must seek has to come through private investment.
“Partnerships between civil society groups and our business community will become not only more important, but critical to expanding the service base that is provided.”
Morrison told delegates that welfare must become a good deal for private investors.
“We have to make it a good deal for the returns to be there and to attract the level of capital that will be necessary,” he said.
“The investment approach to welfare offers much promise for the future welfare system.”
The Minister defended Federal Government spending on the community sector arguing that one third of the Budget was committed to the sector.
“Australia’s social services bill currently sits at over $150 billion. It accounts for one third of the Federal Budget and it’s about twice the size of the New South Wales State Budget in its entirety,” Morrison said.
“It’s a significant portfolio of public money which is dedicated to these important tasks. And the costs keep going up.”
But he said that in order to do more, the sector requires generational structural change.
“If we want a welfare safety net that is sustainable and if we want to do more for those who need it most then there must be generational structural change to our welfare system,” he said.
“The system must be driven by need, not entitlement. Need must drive our investment when it comes to the welfare system.”
The Minister failed to make mention of the future of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission after the federal opposition and senate crossbenchers moved a motion to save the national charity regulator earlier this week.
The ACOSS National Conference is a community sector event bringing together key decision makers, practitioners, researchers and the people at the front line of social policy and services.
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