The not-for-profit community sector is a unique and valuable component of Victoria’s economy and society, delivering value in many ways. It offers a diverse range of programs and services to help people overcome disadvantage and poverty, advocates strongly for policy solutions, supports a wide range of people with multiple and complex needs, can be innovative and collaborative, and generates significant income, employment and volunteering levels. Through all this, the community sector delivers a far-reaching value to Victoria, strengthening the state in a manner unlike that of any other sector.
An ongoing challenge for the community sector is the level of state government funding indexation. Currently indexation is not keeping up with real increases in costs incurred by community organisations as a result of price inflation and mandated wage increases resulting from the National Minimum Wage Order. While indexation remains at two per cent this will continue to affect community sector organisations.
Funding for community sector wage rises incurred as a result of the Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) will continue to be covered by the Victorian government as announced in last year’s budget.
Initiatives at a glance
- 2% funding indexation for community organisations in 2016-17. This continues the decline in real funding for community organisations
- $12m over four years for a community renewal and rebuilding fund. The government will establish a fund to provide targeted support for disadvantaged communities. The fund will also support coordination of community programs and build the capacity of community organisations.
- $0.7m to pilot social impact bonds in Victoria and $1m for investigating public service mutuals for human services delivery.
Future policy directions
- VCOSS is committed to working in partnership with the community sector and the government to implement adequate indexation and to cover other mandated costs such as superannuation and the ERO that keeps pace with real costs of service delivery and allows community organisations to plan for the future with certainty.
- The state government can strengthen Victoria’s ability to help people overcome disadvantage by developing a community sector workforce strategy that supports the ongoing development of a multi-skilled and expert workforce able to work with people from a range of cultural backgrounds facing complex social problems. The strategy would cover community sector workforce growth (including the peer workforce), qualifications, training and development.
- The state government has appointed a Red Tape Commissioner whose task is to reduce the regulatory burden on small business. This may include initiatives to reduce the regulatory burden on community sector organisations.
Thumbnail: Flickr (studiobeerhorst)