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Sector delivers verdict on government’s first 100 days

7 September 2022 at 9:09 pm
Danielle Kutchel
We speak to sector leaders and ministers to reveal where they think the government’s progress has been pleasing and what should be next on Albanese’s agenda.

Danielle Kutchel | 7 September 2022 at 9:09 pm


Sector delivers verdict on government’s first 100 days
7 September 2022 at 9:09 pm

We speak to sector leaders and ministers to reveal where they think the government’s progress has been pleasing and what should be next on Albanese’s agenda.

The Albanese government has now passed its first 100 days in office and major announcements are coming in thick and fast. Pro Bono News approached key ministers and central figures within the for-purpose sector to reflect on the federal government’s progress so far and what should be the next steps from here.


New Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, Andrew Leigh, hit the ground running with a series of roundtables and community forums with charities around the country. 

Feedback from these events will inform Treasury’s charity sector blueprint – a key Labor election promise.

Meanwhile, the hunt is on for a new head for the ACNC.

Leigh told Pro Bono News he hadn’t been focused on 100 days as a target, but had been pleased to see progress on initiatives related to the sector over the government’s first 100 days.

With the war on charities over, Leigh said he is turning his attention to harmonising fundraising laws “as quickly as possible”. He’s also looking forward to working with the next head of the ACNC – but there’s no word yet on when that person will be appointed or who it might be.

The assistant minister said he would also be working on his plan to double philanthropic giving by 2030, including increasing giving among high net worth individuals.

Pro Bono News also spoke to David Crosbie, CEO of the Community Council for Australia, who said he is pleased to see a cultural shift in the new government towards working in partnership with charities.

Noting that it is “very early days”, Crosbie said “the level of engagement with the sector… is unparalleled”.

But what is now needed is action.

“Now [we have] to translate that engagement into meaningful change for charities and the communities we serve,” he said.

He wants to see policy infrastructure connecting charities with decision-making figures within the government, as well as funding bodies and philanthropists, to help drive that change.

But Crosbie cautioned that the government “isn’t perfect” and that it would take time for charities to win the changes they are seeking.

“There’s a huge gap between what we might really desire and the reality of governments and what they’re doing. I don’t necessarily agree with everything the government says or does,” he said.

“But I also think we need to give the government time. The government’s done well. Could they do better? Certainly. But I think the process of achieving sustainable change that benefits charities and the community is not a short term process.”

First Nations

The federal government came to power promising a referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. 

Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney told Pro Bono News in a statement the government had “hit the ground running”.

“A constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament is about improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the country.  It’s about making sure First Nations people have a say on the issues and policies that affect them,” she said.

“It’s about drawing a line on the poor outcomes from the long legacy of failed programs and broken policies and about recognising the glaring omission of First Peoples in Australia’s birth certificate.”

She listed a number of achievements alongside the progress on the Voice, including:

  • introducing support for victims of the Youpla funeral insurance company collapse 
  • beginning the process of scrapping and replacing the Community Development program
  • progressing training for 500 new First Nations health workers at the Joint Council on Closing the Gap.

CEO of SNAICC Catherine Liddle said many of the government’s broad commitments, including more affordable childcare, would benefit First Nations people.

However, she told Pro Bono News such mainstream reforms “must take into account the particular needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families”.

“SNAICC has already met with senior government ministers and we look forward to strengthening those relationships and working with the new government to progress much needed policy reform to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have their needs and voices heard,” she said.

Liddle said growing momentum around enshrining an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Constitution is “heartening and uplifting”.

“What also gives me hope that we are seeing a shift is the support that is also there for the work being done under Closing the Gap. While the Voice is the headline piece of work, what is being done to transform the way governments work with us under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap is starting to hit the ground,” she added.

“Federal Labor has committed to the implementation of the National Agreement with the Coalition of Peaks. There’s no doubt that we lost some ground in the run up to and during the federal election. But I think that implementation of the National Agreement is being brought back to where it needs to be.”

Liddle said SNAICC looks forward to working with the government on reforms to early education, family services, and out of home care, with access to childcare identified as being particularly important as a lack of access can create barriers that prevent First Nations people from engaging in work and study. 


Disability was high on the agenda heading into the federal government’s Jobs and Skills Summit, with much of the pre-summit conversation dominated by suggestions for how to get people with disability into meaningful and stable employment.

Many advocates and people with lived experience told Pro Bono News that now is the time for the government to listen to the suggestions of people with disability and take action to get them into employment.

Mary Henley-Collopy, expert consultant on NDIS for the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO), said the fact that the government had appointed a minister specifically for the NDIS in Bill Shorten is “appropriate”.

“Prime Minister Albanese… has put the right person, we believe, at the helm of the NDIS,” she said.

She said Shorten had already begun taking actions on vital issues, including clamping down on NDIS fraud, the skills base needed in the NDIS workforce, and discussing ways to get more people with disability into work.

Henley-Collopy said the government should now focus on pathways to employment, models of employment support, the role flexible work can play in providing a safe workplace for people with disability, and a supply of workers for the NDIS who meet the needs of people with disability.

Pro Bono News requested an interview with NDIS minister Bill Shorten but did not hear back before deadline.

Social services

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth has been busy over the past 100 days.

Among the initiatives undertaken during that time were the decisions to scrap the cashless welfare card and a move to introduce domestic violence leave.

Rishworth also announced an overhaul of the nation’s Disability Employment Services system, with 52 of 104 providers notified that some or all of their services would end due to “poor performance”.

But while welfare payments have received an indexation increase, roundly criticised as not being enough to lift those receiving social security payments above the poverty line, the government has ruled out any significant rises in JobSeeker.

Pro Bono News requested an interview with social services minister Amanda Rishworth but did not hear back before deadline.

Danielle Kutchel  |  @ProBonoNews

Danielle is a journalist specialising in disability and CALD issues, and social justice reporting. Reach her on or on Twitter @D_Kutchel.

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