The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) said today that a $26 million funding package for the community sector announced by the ACT Government represented a major commitment to address needs highlighted by ACTCOSS and its members during the COVID-19 health and economic crisis.
The funding announcement includes:
- $8.6m for specialist homelessness programs
- $4m to increase the indexation rate to annual grants to cover the recent Fair Work Commission decision to increase award wages by 2.5%
- $2m for the community legal assistance sector and $2.5m for Legal Aid
- $2.2m over the next four years for suicide prevention measures tailored for Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander peoples and more than $300,000 for the establishment of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Commissioner
- $570,000 to support vulnerable members of Canberra’s migrant and refugee community; and
- Funding for COVID-19 emergency relief and mental health supports.
ACTCOSS CEO, Dr Emma Campbell said: “ACTCOSS acknowledges the importance of the Government’s public health measures, including lockdown, to protect our community from health impacts of COVID-19 and the potential overwhelming of our health system. We welcome its focus on ensuring vulnerable Canberrans have access to vaccination before opening up.
“At the same time, we need to ensure that those impacted by the lockdown can access support – to keep a roof over their heads, food on their table and maintain physical and mental health.
“Strong community sector services are crucial in protecting and supporting Canberra’s most vulnerable. This additional funding is an important step in ensuring the sustainability of essential community services.”
Dr Campbell said that ACTCOSS particularly welcomed the significant funding for homelessness services.
“This additional funding acknowledges the ongoing housing and homelessness crisis in Canberra which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We look forward to further announcements in next month’s ACT Budget to address the shortage of affordable rentals and other community priorities.
“We are pleased that ACTCOSS has been able to focus the government’s attention on the needs of Canberrans who face disadvantage.
“We welcome this funding and appreciate the way the ACT Government has worked with the community sector to protect the most vulnerable people in our community,” Dr Campbell said.
ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations.
For more information or comment, please contact
Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617 or 02 6202 7200.