Community services sector continues to be ignored by McGowan Government

The Opposition Alliance says the 2023-24 State Budget is another missed opportunity by the McGowan Labor Government to show real support for community service organisations facing unprecedented demand for their essential services.

Shadow Minister for Community Services Donna Faragher said the McGowan Labor Government was continuing to ignore the calls from the community services sector for greater funding and support.

With rising cost of living pressures hitting Western Australian households, many community service organisations are expected to provide more assistance with little to no funding uplift from the Government,” Mrs Faragher said.

“I am consistently hearing from community service organisations that the increase in demand for emergency relief, financial support and crisis assistance is unprecedented and further funding is needed to enable these organisations to be able to continue to play a pivotal role in helping those in our community who need urgent support and care.

“A significant uplift in funding is urgently required to assist charities and non-government community organisations to cope with this increased demand, to support them in retaining their workforce and not force them to cut programs or limit the support they can provide.”

The Western Australian Council of Social Services (WACOSS) 2022 Sustainable Funding Survey Report showed that across 87 member organisations who responded to the survey, 53 per cent of respondents could not meet service demand in 2022 and 40 per cent of respondents reduced their operations in order to survive at a time of increased demand.

“The community services sector is doing the heavy lifting when it comes to supporting the most vulnerable in our community and it is more than clear that a significant funding increase to support their work is warranted,” Mrs Faragher said.

In February, the Opposition Alliance called for the McGowan Labor Government to provide an immediate uplift in funding to help boost charities and not-for-profit community organisations filling the gap due to the rising cost-of-living.

“Once again, the McGowan Labor Government has missed the opportunity in this Budget to provide substantial funding support to community service organisations who play a vital role in the delivery of essential services to the most vulnerable members of our community,” Mrs Faragher said.

“The Government has recorded another surplus and it has no excuse for not providing a significant financial uplift to this important sector.”