The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has today called on all ACT candidates in the coming federal election to explain to Canberra voters how they will make sure that the Territory receives its fair share of federal funding in the next parliament.
This follows reports today on the disbursement of federal grants showing that ACT electorates received among the lowest levels of funding of any electorate in Australia.
ACTCOSS CEO Dr Emma Campbell said: “Today’s reports highlight an ongoing lack of federal investment in the ACT. The ACT has a population of over 400,000 people. Like all jurisdictions we have major health, education, housing and other infrastructure needs and significant levels of poverty and disadvantage.
“Canberra is a growing city with ageing community facilities, bushland areas, high population growth and increasing density. Our community sector and volunteer workforce are recovering from the impacts of fires, extreme weather and COVID lockdowns. High living costs and the housing affordability crisis mean that many vulnerable people rely on community services. Extremes of heat and cold mean that modern climate-proofed infrastructure is vital.
“Federal discretionary grant programs include grants for community services, volunteers, sporting facilities, environmental sustainability, safer streets and communities, and community development.
“It’s understandable there would be differences in funding provided to the ACT and areas of rural and remote Australia. But it’s hard to explain the fact that the seat of Wentworth received over $33.5 million while the seat of Fenner received $649,316.64; or that Bass received $44 million while Canberra received just under $4 million and Bean received around $5.5 million.
“Evidence of need must be the only criteria for determining what programs are funded.
“The needs of the Canberra community must be treated fairly and equally by the federal government when determining discretionary grant programs. No other factors should determine the provision of Australian Government money, not least because of the effort that community organisations – including our members – put into developing proposals.
“Going into the federal election, ACTCOSS will be asking all candidates to outline what they intend to do to ensure that the ACT receives its fair share of Australian Government funding,” Dr Campbell concluded.
ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations. Follow us @ACTCOSS on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
For more information or comment, please contact
Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617 or 02 6202 7200.