'Bringing the fight' to Tamworth: call to guarantee service funds
In West Tamworth, 24.6 per cent of the population is living in economic disadvantage.
That’s just one reason why the CEO of NSW Council of Social Service’s, Joanna Quilty travelled to Tamworth to make the case to Federal MP, Barnaby Joyce that local service providers, including counselling and parenting programs, need their funding guaranteed.
Currently, Federal Government funding to cover the cost of mandated wage rises for some employees on the Social and Community Services Award expires on 30 June 2021.
NCOSS is calling on the Federal Government to commit to incorporating this dedicated wage funding into baseline social and community services funding post-June 2021.
Ms Quilty said the funding deadline comes as recently released data highlights the significant economic disadvantage that exists in regional NSW, including in and around the New England region.
" These services employ dedicated and experienced staff who are often dealing with increased demand and increasing complexity," she said.
"This is a sector that already runs on a shoestring and we need the Federal Government to guarantee this funding so they can move forward with confidence.
"Recently released data from NCOSS and NATSEM highlight just how significant the job can be for these organisations, particularly in rural and regional NSW."
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Ms Quilty said these workers are at the frontline of service delivery - they support women escaping violent relationships, people who are homeless and kids who have experienced trauma and abuse.
“Bushfires and drought in regional communities will have long-lasting impacts and will further increase demand for community services and support," she added.
“Even a funding cut of $20,000 can mean the difference between providing a weekly outreach service or not.
"For smaller organisations, this kind of loss can mean they have to close their doors.”
Mr Joyce welcomed approaches by NCOSS about ongoing funding arrangements in New England for employees in the social and community services sector.
He added that as highlighted by NCOSS, the government has provided additional resources for the sector until June 2021.
"Regular review is a necessary part of good governance," Mr Joyce said.
"Notwithstanding, I will be making further representations regarding this important matter."
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