Close Search
 
MEDIA, JOBS & RESOURCES for the COMMON GOOD
News  |  PolicyGovernment funding

Community sector struggling to meet demand


20 January 2020 at 5:23 pm
Maggie Coggan
Australia’s peak welfare body is calling for a $2 billion injection for community services


Maggie Coggan | 20 January 2020 at 5:23 pm


0 Comments


 Print
Community sector struggling to meet demand
20 January 2020 at 5:23 pm

Australia’s peak welfare body is calling for a $2 billion injection for community services

Just 5 per cent of community sector staff believe they can completely meet service demand, a survey finds.  

The Australian Council for Social Services (ACOSS) surveyed 1,400 staff across the homelessness, financial counselling and mental health services. 

Over 80 per cent of community sector workers reported that in the last year, levels of demand in the community either increased (50 per cent) or increased significantly (32 per cent). 

Sixty per cent of people surveyed also said there was a rise in the number of clients they were unable to support over the past year. 

Staff in the housing and homelessness, financial counselling and legal services were most likely to report demand pressures, and rural and regional areas were found to have high levels of unmet need.

One practitioner from the Northern Territory said in the report, released at the end of 2019, that they were often the “last line of support” for many of their remote clients. 

“If we can’t provide our services no support is given,” they said. 

Extra strain over Christmas 

While the holiday period is traditionally known as a time for relaxation and socialising, ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said it put more strain on an already stretched sector. 

“For people who are on low incomes, facing a relationship breakdown or family crisis, struggling with their mental health, leaving a violent situation, or facing discrimination or homelessness, the festive season can be a particularly worrying and isolating time,” Goldie said. 

“Many people experiencing disadvantage will turn to charities for help to get by. But the results of our survey show community services already do not have enough resources to keep up with demand.”

She also noted that community groups had been surveyed before the full force of the bushfires and heat waves hit communities all over Australia, putting services under even more pressure.  

“Community services will be under intense pressure, facing devastation themselves, and often at the front line, helping people through terrible crisis and loss, as well as the long road to recovery,” she said. 

“Without being able to access the support of community services, people can be left to homelessness, poverty, debt, family violence or escalating legal problems.”

Plan of action needed

She said the $50 million federal government package for charities announced on Wednesday was incredibly welcome, but more support for the sector was needed. 

“In the lead up to the federal budget, we’re calling for a $2 billion replenishment to the community service sector, following years of funding cuts,” Goldie told Pro Bono News. 

“This money would help create great jobs all over the country including in regional areas, with local people being paid to provide the help and support their communities so desperately need.” 

See the full survey results here. 


Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

PB Careers
Get your biweekly dose of news, opinion and analysis to keep you up to date with what’s happening and why it matters for you, sent every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers? Get in touch at news@probonoaustralia.com.au or download our contributor guidelines.

Advertisement

Virtual Congress - CPA Australia

Get more stories like this

FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Community sector celebrates equal pay renewal

Maggie Coggan

Wednesday, 14th October 2020 at 10:36 pm

Up to 12,000 community sector jobs at risk due to funding uncertainty

Luke Michael

Wednesday, 9th September 2020 at 5:31 pm

New plan says SDGs must inform COVID-19 stimulus spending

Luke Michael

Tuesday, 8th September 2020 at 8:17 am

Equal pay for community sector staff hangs in the balance

Maggie Coggan

Wednesday, 26th August 2020 at 5:15 pm

pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook
×