COVID-19 and the recession have significantly impacted the community sector through declines in revenue, increasing demand for services, and a reduction in the availability of volunteers. The sector has responded quickly with great agility and innovation, but these changes place significant financial and operational pressure on organisations. This effects the sector’s ability to meet new areas of demand, deliver effective services and remain financially viable.
The industry is a significant economic contributor and employer in NSW, employing 12.5% of workers. To ensure the sector can support the rising tide of disadvantage we should be focused on strengthening the community services through greater certainty of and adequate funding and better support for the workforce.
What's in the 2020-21 Budget
- $50 million in funding for small-to-medium-sized community sector organisations to adapt and modernise operations in response to challenges presented by COVID-19 via the Social Sector Transformation Fund.
- $19.5 million for the care economy workforce focused on skills development, retraining and job matching, including $2.5 million to TAFE for the development of an aged care centre of excellence, bringing training together with industry and academia.
- $1.3 million for the COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Organisations Grants Program to provide small grant funding for ACCOs impacted by COVID-19.
What does it mean for those doing it tough?
The NSW Budget provides some additional support to community sector organisations. However, this additional support is likely to be significantly outweighed by increasing demand for community services as disadvantage increases and peaks in June 2021.
For people doing it tough, this will mean accessing community services may be challenging during the crisis as organisations struggle to meet rising demand.
What is needed?
Further funding and investment in the sector are needed. The viability of organisations must be underpinned by setting indexation at 3%, providing funds to cover additional costs from COVID-19, and delivering funding certainty through five-year contracts.
Budget responses from the sector:
- NCOSS 2020-21 Pre-Budget Submission
- A Wave of Disadvantage Across NSW: Impact of the COVID-19 recession