Homelessness services welcome pre-budget funding commitment
11 May 2021 at 8:25 am
The federal government is continuing $56.7 million in funding that was at risk of being scrapped
Homelessness groups are breathing a sigh of relief after the Morrison government agreed to extend a federal funding deal that will secure more than 500 jobs in the sector.
The funding is part of an agreement that allows workers in the female-dominated social sector to receive fair pay. It follows a 2012 Fair Work Commission decision to address the gendered undervaluation of work which saw wages increase by up to 45 per cent over eight years.
The federal government committed additional funding at the time to address the pay discrepancy in the sector, and agreed to extend this deal in last year’s budget.
But a number of services including homelessness and domestic violence crisis accommodation services were excluded from the new funding arrangement.
This led over 180 community organisations to sign a letter in March calling on the federal government to extend the deal.
Advocates warned that failing to do so would mean a $56.7 million cut to services, leading to 567 fewer frontline workers.
On Saturday, the federal government pledged extra funding to extend the deal and maintain homelessness service capacity in this year’s federal budget.
This decision was welcomed by Australian Council of Social Service CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie, who said it would save hundreds of predominantly female jobs in the sector.
“We know right now we have a housing crisis, with income support cuts and eviction moratoriums ending, making homelessness services all the more important,” Goldie said.
“That’s why it’s so crucial that the government has delivered this security of funding for these critical homelessness services for the next two years.”
Homelessness Australia chair Jenny Smith told Pro Bono News she was also thrilled by the government commitment.
“We’re pleased to see that the federal government has continued funding that was at risk of being scrapped,” Smith said.
“The sector can now get on with the job of supporting people without a home, or at risk of homelessness, without the additional worry of having to cut programs or reduce service capacity.”