NSW Budget – Devil in Details

Doorstop opportunity – Community Sector unites to call for change

This year’s NSW budget is a stark contrast to the Premier’s post-election announcement that
government would “put people at the heart of everything it does” and focus on reducing the cycle of
disadvantage by “fixing problems that have been in the too -hard basket for too long”. D rilling into
the budget, rather, reveals an overall lack of investment in vital services for disadvantaged
individuals and communities.

“The lack of investment in social and affordable housing is only the tip of this very big and very
dangerous iceberg,” C EO of Community Industry Group, Nicky Sloan said “While the budget contains
nothing that will address the ten year waiting list for social housing in the region, there is more bad
news for domestic and family violence, for out of home care, and for the very survival of grass roots
community services.”

“It is inconceivable that, at a time when domestic -violence related murder rates have doubled in
NSW, there is no new funding for domestic violence services,” said Sally Stevenson, General
Manager of the Illawarra Women’s Health Centre. “In fact, some essential domestic and family
violence programs had not been re -funded in three women’s health services. Thank goodness that
has now been overturned.”
The overturning of these budgetary measures only goes to show tha t this year’s budget is ill-
conceived and poorly focused.

“A women is hospitalised in Australia every two hours from DFV. One in four has been emotionally
or mentally abused. How many more women have to suffer? How many more children need to die.

Ms Stevenson ad ded. “We urgently need more services, at all stages, to address this public health
crisis. We need early intervention programs, crisis services, accommodation services, and long term
trauma recovery services. We need them now. We need resources, not rhetor ic. ”

Worryingly, the budget also contains elements which threaten the service delivery and indeed the
very future of some community organisations. Scrutiny of the budget reveals that indexation for
funded services is set at just 1.7 5% for the coming year.

“A 1.75% indexation rate is an insult,” said CEO of Southern Youth and Family Services, Narelle Clay “When
the National Wage Case means a 3% increase for all of our workers employed under the Modern Award, this
leaves community organisations with no choice but to cut staff hours. Not only is that something that we, as
employers, baulk at; but its means reduced services for vulnerable people.”

“This comes after many years of low indexation and increasing costs” Ms Clay added “So not only are we
struggling to pay staff, but our funding is not even keeping up with the increasing costs of overheads. The
pressure on not for profit providers is extreme. We risk losing great people and, potentially, great
organisations from the sector if the NSW government doesn’t address this now. ”

” Once again, the government has put profit before people,” Ms Sloan concluded. ” We cannot accept that
there is no more money for community services when government is delivering budgetary s urpluses. Make
no mi stake, these surpluses come at a dreadful cost. They come at the cost of families who can’t feed their
children, of older people getting hypothermia because they can’t heat their homes, and by women living in
cars with their children because home is not safe and crisis refuges are at capacity.”


Nicky Sloan, Narelle Clay, and representatives of Community Services Organisations

10:30am Friday 21 June, 2019

Southern Youth and Family Services, 25 Lake Entrance Rd, Warilla

About the Community Industry Group
Community Industry (formerly known as Illawarra Forum) is the peak body working for community services
and organisations in the South East of NSW. It supports community organisations, promotes expertise and
innovation in community development, fosters industry development and provides advocacy for social
justice. Community Industry Group is an independent organisation governed by a committee of
man agement elected annually by the membership.

Community Industry Group represents the non -government community services industry in the South East
of NSW, which consists of a pproximately 300 organisations, and works closely with numerous organisations
which provide support to vulnerable people across the region.

/Public Release. View in full here.