2017 Budget wrap-up
There were mixed reviews in the NFP sector in regards to this years Budget. Homelessness, volunteers and the NDIS were big issues for the sector this year.
The Government’s response in this years Budget for Housing and homelessness were a big disappointment for those in the NFP sector.
Homelessness Australia said that the Budget fails to deliver the big-picture solutions needed to end homelessness.
“While the increased security of funding for homelessness services is very welcome, the fact remains that we can’t house the 105,000 Australians experiencing homelessness each night until there is a real increase in in public housing to get 200,000 people off waiting lists,” said Jenny Smith, Chair, Homelessness Australia.
The Treasurer announced that a new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA) will replace the current National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) and National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH), but that the level of funding for homelessness services and public and community housing will only be maintained in real terms.
Professor Nicole Gurran, Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning, said, “The Treasurer’s budget and ‘housing package’ signals a change in the policy narrative around Australia’s chronic housing affordability problems. But there is little change to actual policy settings which have fuelled high housing demand, with negative gearing and capital gains tax arrangements largely untouched.”
“Policy levers to help finance affordable housing development are more promising in this budget, but funding for social housing remains precarious and is now tied to dubious state planning reform agendas.”
Volunteering Australia, the peak body for volunteering in the country, is disappointed in this year’s 2017-18 Federal Budget, with volunteering overlooked.
Volunteering plays a critical role in Australia’s national identity. It is disappointing that volunteering has not been identified as an important part of the budget given there are 5.8 million Australians or 31 per cent of the population who engage in formal volunteering activities and programs, making an estimated annual economic and social contribution of $290 billion.
Volunteering Australia CEO Adrienne Picone said, “While we acknowledge the distribution of volunteer grants that have been provided over the past few weeks, this funding pales in comparison to the sustained investment that is required to ensure safe, effective and sustainable volunteering. Volunteer managers and Volunteering Support Services provide the stable and secure volunteering infrastructure needed to support volunteers and volunteer programs on the ground every day.”
“Volunteering Australia would like to reaffirm that the streamlining of funding, following the redesign of the of the Strong and Resilient Communities grants, poses a real risk to the critical role Volunteering Support Services play, as they will now have to compete for funding with those previously in other funding streams,” she said.
Mission Australia were pleased to see the Budget’s inclusion of full funding of NDIS. The organisation also welcomed the new funding for people with psychosocial disability who do not meet the criteria for the NDIS and investment in building NDIS workforce capacity.
James Toomey, Executive Operations and Fundraising said: “While we welcome these measures, Mission Australia continues to be concerned about the gaps that have opened up for people experiencing mental illness. The proposed funding levels are inadequate for vulnerable people who are not eligible for NDIS packages and risk losing the vital mental health supports they currently access.”
“We look forward to working with the Government to ensure a long-term solution for people experiencing mental illness who need community-based mental health programs as they continue on their journey to recovery,” he said.