Volunteers and woman donating clothes community charity donations center, coronavirus concept.

Fighting for fair funding

Funding must increase with the true cost of delivering services.

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The Victorian Government is cutting funding to the state’s social service groups and frontline charities. This will mean job losses and service cuts.


In the news

  • ‘Charities lash out over cuts’, Herald Sun

  • ‘Social funding push’, Bendigo Advertiser

  • ‘Government funding cut ‘devastating”, ABC Radio Melbourne

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    What’s the problem?

    The Victorian Government (through the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing) funds organisations that deliver social services on its behalf.

    Each year, this funding is meant to increase enough to cover costs. This is called ‘indexation’.

    This year, the government is offering an increase of just 2% — much less than is needed.

     

    Any increase is good, right?

    In theory. The problem is the cost of delivering services is rising faster than ever before.

    This year costs are going up more than 4%.

    So in real terms, the Victorian Government is driving a post-COVID funding cut to social service organisations.

    A funding increase of 2% doesn’t even cover half of recent cost increases (see below).

     

    Why have costs gone up so much?

    A raft of new costs has been recently imposed on social service organisations.

    These include:

    1. A recent increase to the minimum wage
      + 2.5% (Imposed by the Fair Work Comission)
    2. New superannuation contribution requirements
      + 0.5% (Imposed by the Federal Government)
    3. New Portable Long Service Leave obligations
      + >1.0% (Imposed by the Victorian Government.

     

    These are all worthy and important reforms. But they come at a cost.

    The three cost increases listed above will alone increase organisations’ wages bills by more than 4%

    (For context, wages make up roughly 80% of social service organisations’ running costs.)

     

    What will happen if the Victorian Government doesn’t abandon these funding cuts?

    A funding cut will mean job losses and service reductions.

    Historically, Victoria’s social services sector employs mostly females.

    So it will be Victorian women most at risk of losing their jobs as a result of the funding cuts.

     

    What needs to happen?

    The Victorian Government must offer a fair and reasonable funding increase.

    In short, funding must increase with the true cost of delivering services.

    The Victorian Government has already announced it will establish a Working Group to review the process of funding indexation going forward. This is a welcome development.

    However,  it won’t avert a funding crisis this year.

From ‘Thankyou Day’, October 2020


Days out from a new financial year, community sector organisations funded through the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing still don’t know the rate of indexation that will apply to our funding in 2021-22.

Your voice is powerful.
You can help stave off a potential funding cut – and help win a fair rate of funding indexation for our sector – by writing directly to the Victorian Government today.
We know emails and phone calls to the Treasurer and DFFH Ministers are having an impact.
But we must keep up a powerful stream of correspondence to avoid a looming, but avoidable funding cut in 2021.
We’re asking you to write a letter to the Treasurer and/or most relevant minister on behalf of your organisation, or sector area.
This is a simple yet powerful action you can take, which augments and supports other avenues of advocacy being undertaken concurrently by VCOSS, such as: direct lobbying with ministers, senior political staff and other important stakeholders.
This page details three different ways to write to the Treasurer and/or Minister, and provides resources and tips for each. They are:

1. Original letter

An original letter, composed by you and placed under your letterhead. Sent direct to the minister (most effective).

2. Assisted letter

A letter using some provided language and placed on your letterhead. Sent direct to the minister.

3. Automated letter

A letter mostly comprising provided language,  but with some personalisation. Sent by you through this website.

Every letter helps, and shows the government the depth of concern about this issue.

Why are we advocating now?
Victoria’s social service peak bodies hold serious concerns the Victorian Government may not deliver a sufficient increase in funding for community services in 2021-22.
With the new financial year fast approaching, organisations funded by the Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing still have no confirmation of the rate of indexation that will be applied to their funding.
At this stage, we cannot be confident that the rate will reflect the true cost of delivering services. We need to act quickly to influence the government and avert a funding crisis.
We need the Victorian Government to apply a fair rate of indexation, that accurately reflects the costs of delivering services.
Target Ministers
Tim Pallas
Victorian Treasurer
tim.pallas@parliament.vic.gov.au
Luke Donnellan
Minister for Child Protection, Disability, Ageing and Carers
luke.donnellan@parliament.vic.gov.au
Richard Wynne
Minister for Housing (DFFH lead minister)
richard.wynne@parliament.vic.gov.au
Gabrielle Williams
Minister for Family Violence, Women, and Aboriginal Affairs gabrielle.williams@parliament.vic.gov.au
Martin Foley
Minister for Equality
martin.foley@parliament.vic.gov.au
Ros Spence
Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Youth
ros.spence@parliament.vic.gov.au
Note: We have provided Ministers’ public email addresses. If you already have their direct Ministerial address, use this.
Key messages
  1. Funding isn’t increasing enough to cover risings costs. This represents a funding cut.
  2. A funding cut will force us to sack staff and slash services.
  3. Funding must increase with the true cost of delivering services. Thanks isn’t enough.
Useful language to adopt
The Victorian Government is poised to offer social service organisations a funding increase that’s less than the rising costs of delivering services.
Recent cost increases include:

  • Minimum wage increase (+2.5%)
  • Superannuation contribution requirements (+0.5%)
  • Portable Long Service Leave obligations (+1.6%)

These extra costs are in addition to years of under-funding, and inefficient short-term ‘drip funding’.
If funding isn’t increased to cover these extra costs, social service organisations will have no choice but to sack workers and slash services.
Historically, our sector employ mostly females. So it will be Victorian women losing their jobs.
Politicians are very good at thanking us for their service. But thanks isn’t enough.
Thanks doesn’t pay our staff, cover the rent or allow us to invest in services.
Funding must increase with the true cost of delivering services.


Your email will be more powerful if it’s personalised.

We strongly encourage you to contextualise and localise these overarching advocacy messages. For example, mention:

  • Who you support (the people or cohorts you assist)
  • How you support them (an overview of your programs and services)
  • Where you support them (which parts of the state)
  • How many staff you employ
  • The impact on your organisation if you don’t get a fair increase in funding (e.g. projected staff cuts and service reductions).

1. Original letter

In your own words:

  • You’re concerned about a funding cut to your organisation if the rate of funding indexation for 2021-22 fails to cover recent cost rises.
  • You’re calling for a fair rate of indexation that covers the cost of implementing the minimum wage increase, the increase in the superannuation guarantee, and the cost of implenting the Portable Long Service Leave scheme.
  • Provide a brief description of your organisation (for example, one or two sentences about the communities you serve and the essential services you provide).
  • Highlight how your frontine services will be impacted – for example, how many jobs would you need to cut if the government only provides indexation of 1.5%. What would this mean for your clients?

2. Assisted letter

Please refer to ‘Useful language to adopt’, above.
Suggested opening:

Dear Minister,

I’m writing to express my deep concern about the possibility of job losses and service reductions at my organisation in late 2021, if funding isn’t increased to cover the cost of implementing the minimum wage increase, the increase in the superannuation guarantee, and the cost of implementing the Portable Long Service Leave scheme.

Middle section:

My organisation provides < Add some details about the types of services you deliver and the people you support.>

Unless the Victorian Government provides a rate of indexation that covers rising costs, my organisation will have to <Explain what a funding cut would mean for your staff and community.>

Suggested ending:

Thank you for reading my email. I urge you to listen to charities, frontline social service organisations and peak bodies, and provide a fair rate of indexation in line with the true cost of delivering support.

Yours sincerely

<<Name of CEO and organisation>>

3. Automated letter