Jesuit Social Services was pleased to contribute a submission in response to the Department of Social Services’ Issues Paper on the Federal Government’s election commitment for “a stronger, more diverse and independent community sector”. Our submission argues reform is needed to change the way Government works with and funds community services organisations.
The recommendations in our submission are grounded in the knowledge, expertise and experiences of Jesuit Social Services’ staff, as well as research and evidence. This submission’s recommendations provide a framework for reform, and are informed by consistent advocacy led by organisations in the community sector.
In this submission, we discuss the value contributed by community service organisations and the unique role they play in maintaining a strong civil society. The submission emphasises the critical need for greater flexibility and stability in funding arrangements, ideally through the implementation of longer contracts and greater notice periods regarding funding renewal or cessation.
Jesuit Social Services also advocates for a dedicated commitment from Government to fund the full cost of quality service delivery in future, including adequate consideration of administrative costs and indexation. This submission also highlights the need for greater investment in place-based initiatives in order to effectively address entrenched and systemic disadvantage. Finally, this submission discusses the role of private service providers, and stresses the importance of valuing and preferencing the community sector’s expertise regarding service delivery to individuals and communities experiencing vulnerability.