UCA Funds Management Hosts NFP Budget Overview
Wednesday, 17th May 2017 at 5:15 pm
The second annual post-budget not-for-profit breakfast hosted by UCA Funds Management and event partners produced a combination of insightful comments and more reflective analysis on the health of Australia’s social sector, writes Penny Mulvey, Director, Communications and Media Services at UCA.
Created for leaders of Australia’s charitable organisations, four panellists addressed the 140-plus breakfasters at the fog-enclosed Kooyong Tennis Club on Tuesday, focusing on issues of particular concern to the not-for-profit sector in the wake of both the Victorian and federal budgets.
A keynote delivered by the Commonwealth Bank’s Director of Global Markets Bruno Bellon provided an overview of the federal budget and the state of the economy.
During a facilitated Q&A session Deb Tsorbaris, CEO of the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, Beth Webster, Pro Vice Chancellor at Swinburne University, and Darrell Price from Grant Thornton spoke on the impact on the community services sector.
Tsorbaris gave a pithy reaction to the two budgets calling the federal one “incredibly disappointing” but declaring “hip hip hooray” for the state one.
Applauding the $1.9 billion of new funds allocated to social services from the Victorian budget Tsorbaris declared premier Andrews a ‘trendsetter’.
Bruno Bellon said the Australian labour market was undergoing substantial change as it transitioned from full-time to part-time work. He said there were greater opportunities for women, and people were changing jobs every two to three years.
However he said the flexible work hours also brought considerable insecurity and further stress on the household income.
Professor Webster specialises in the economics of how knowledge is created and diffused.
She said that at the federal level public debt had attracted a stigma that was unwarranted and was holding back the creation of jobs.
“Unemployment and under-employment is around 14 per cent,” Prof Webster said.
“There is a fear about going into debt. But more debt provides more job opportunities which will ultimately pull people out of unemployment.”
She also said that research indicates that, in comparison to other nations, Australia was well served in large-scale physical infrastructure. The distinction between good and bad debt was referenced where physical infrastructure was good, but knowledge transfer infrastructure was classified as bad.
What was lacking was a long-term vision in social and knowledge infrastructure and continued underinvestment would further erode the prospects of growing a just society.
Tsorbaris pointed out that some sections of the population were being left behind and as a result were growing very angry. She said a just society needed to ensure it was inclusive.
Tsorbaris also spoke to the need for not-for-profits to participate in the growing informal feedback systems offered by social media – in particular twitter.
Speaking on aged and community care, Darrell Price said a number of budget promises were misleading.
He said there was a continuing downward pressure on senior services, which were slashed last year and have had further funding removed again.
He also reiterated concerns regarding the NDIS program, saying that the $6 billion set aside was based on the forecast demand, which was 50 per cent lighter than the actual demand for its services.
The session came to a close as the fog lifted, leaving attendees with a newfound appreciation of the impacts of the budgets on Australia’s social service sector.
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