The ACT Government has tabled its Government Response to the Counting the Costs: Sustainable Funding for the ACT Community Services Sector report, agreeing or agreeing in principle to all recommendations.
Minister for Families and Community Services said the government commissioned the review to better understand the costs involved in delivering services to the community and the cost pressures experienced by the NGO sector in the ACT.
“The Counting the Costs review has helped us to better understand the cost pressures faced by community sector organisations.
“The Government’s response details our commitment to work with the sector, recognising the shared responsibility to ensure we can continue to effectively deliver supports to our community,” said Minister Stephen-Smith.
To address multiple recommendations in the review, the ACT Government will support the first stage of a Sector Sustainability Program with an investment of $395,000 in the Budget Mid-year Review.
The Program will aim to identify how we can work with the sector to ensure funding adequately reflects the real cost of services, as well as better understanding the impact of increased demand.
Commissioning a Sector Sustainability Program is the next step in moving to a sustainable resourcing and relationship model with the community sector in the ACT. This builds on the previously announced $4 million over four years included in the 2021-22 Budget and a further $8.9 million over four years in the 2022-23 Budget to support an increase in community sector indexation, reflecting welcome award wage increases.
“We know how valuable a strong, diverse and responsive non-government sector is to the wellbeing of Canberrans, and we want to ensure the ACT has a resilient, well-funded and resourced sector now and into the future,” said Minister Stephen-Smith.
“The Government is committed to supporting the essential services provided by the community sector, providing $200 million each year to support social infrastructure and services that meet the diverse needs of Canberrans.
“More than 140 non-government organisations employing more than 17,000 people in the ACT will benefit from the Government’s commitment to sustainable funding through improved job security, workforce stability and increased wellbeing for the community.”
Quotes attributable to ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) Interim CEO Dr Gemma Killen
“We welcome the ACT Government’s partnership and commitment to ensuring our sector is adequately and sustainably funded. The Sector Sustainability Program is the first step towards a thriving and well-resourced community sector.
“Rising costs of living and increased financial stress have meant demand for our services is at an all-time high. Community sector organisations deliver quality, effective and life-changing services to the Canberra community, but often do so on the smell of an oily-rag.”
“We are eager to get to work and see the positive impact the implementation of the recommendations from the Counting the Costs report will have on our sector and on the ACT community.”
Full details on the Government’s response to the report can been found here: https://www.communityservices.act.gov.au/about_us/strategic_policy/community-sector-reform