Cuts to the community sector locked in by the recent federal budget will put at risk the substantial economic and social contribution of Victorian community sector charities, according to a new report from the Victorian Council of Social Service.
“Victorian charitable community sector organisations make an enormous contribution to the social and economic the state and must be supported,” said Emma King, CEO of VCOSS.
“This report shows that charitable community sector organisations contribute substantially to the Victorian economy, generating approximately $13 billion in income and employing almost 97,000 people, equating to more than 3 per cent of the state’s workforce.”
“Community sector charities’ contribution to Victoria’s society and economy was more than doubled by its volunteer workforce, with almost 135,000 people volunteering in the sector, the analysis of Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC) data also shows.”
“Yet the VCOSS report, Strengthening the state: A snapshot of Victoria’s community sector charities, warns that funding cuts locked in by the recent federal budget put community sector organisations at risk at a time of increasing demand and growing community need.”
“Many of the 2,672 community sector charities operating in Victoria identified in this data will have been hard hit by federal government funding cuts.”
“Victoria’s unemployment and youth unemployment rates are at their highest levels in decades and it is important to recognise the community sector as a key employer and powerful contributor to tackling unemployment in this state.”
“This report shows that community sector charities are one of the biggest employer groups in the Victoria, with the 97,000 people employed in the sector equating to more than 3 per cent of the state’s workforce.”
“Community sector charities employ more people than some other key industries, including the electricity, gas, water and waste services (34,900), rental, hiring and real estate services (47,300), information, media and telecommunications (64,000), arts and recreation services (69,600) and agriculture, forestry and fishing (82,200) industries.”
“There are more volunteers than paid workers in Victorian community sector charities and their contribution to both the economic and social impact of these organisations is substantial.”
“The vast majority – 91.1 per cent – of Victoria’s community sector charities are supported by volunteers and some sub-sectors of the Victorian charities community sector were almost completely reliant on volunteers to deliver services.”
“Emergency relief organisations in particular are heavily reliant upon volunteers. The report finds that 96.9 per cent of emergency relief charities were supported by volunteers, with almost half, 49.2 per cent, employing 20-99 volunteers.”
“The largest numbers of volunteers were reported across charities whose main activity was social services (34,322), followed by other education (25,206), other health service delivery (17,229) and emergency relief (17,202).”
“Such high levels of volunteerism illustrate the extensive community support for these organisations. They are also help foster powerful community connections that are hugely important to the wellbeing of our society as a whole.”
“The majority of community sector charities support multiple beneficiary groups, reflecting the diversity of multiple and complex need within the community.”