26 September 2023

‘Counting the Costs’ report right on the money

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The ACT Government has accepted, or accepted in principle, all the recommendations of a February 2022 report which found the Territory’s community sector facing pressures of rising demand and rising costs.

The report Counting the Costs: Sustainable Funding for the ACT Community Services Sector found that underfunding had contributed to unpaid and underpaid work in the ACT community sector; loss of staff, especially to the public sector; and over-reliance on volunteers.

Releasing the Territory’s response, the Minister for Families and Community Services, Rachel Stephen-Smith said the Report was commissioned to help the ACT understand better the costs involved in delivering services to the community and the cost pressures experienced by the sector.

“The Counting the Costs review has helped us to better understand the cost pressures faced by community sector organisations,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“The Government’s response details our commitment to work with the sector, recognising the shared responsibility to ensure we can continue to effectively deliver supports to our community,” she said.

“To address multiple recommendations in the review, the ACT Government will support the first stage of a Sector Sustainability Program with an investment of $395,000 in the Budget Mid-year Review.”

Ms Stephen-Smith said the Program would aim to identify how Government could work with the sector to ensure funding reflected the real costs of services, and better understand the impact of increased demand.

She said commissioning the Sector Sustainability Program was the next step in moving to a sustainable resourcing and relationship model with the community sector.

“We know how valuable a strong, diverse and responsive non-government sector is to the wellbeing of Canberrans, and we want to ensure the ACT has a resilient, well-funded and resourced sector now and into the future,” the Minister said.

The Government’s 21-page response can be accessed at this PS News link and the 63-page Report at this link.

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