SENATOR CLAIRE MOORE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CARERS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNITIES
SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND
SENATOR CAROL BROWN
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR FAMILIES AND PAYMENTS
LABOR SENATOR FOR TASMANIA
COMMUNITY SERVICES SECTOR STILL IN THE DARK
Hundreds of community services organisations across Australia remain in the dark about whether they can continue to provide services this year with the Abbott Government refusing to confirm funding for 2015.
Other community services organisations had their funding cut all together by the Abbott Government just two days before Christmas.
Shadow Minister for Communities, Senator Claire Moore, said the organisations that were deemed 'successful' just before Christmas still have no idea how much funding they will receive this year under the Discretionary Grants program, despite being told they would know 'mid-January'.
"These organisations provide critical services such as distributing food and blankets to low-income families, supporting people with disabilities and delivering training programs for teenage parents, and they're unable to tell their staff if they still have a job or work or guarantee if services can continue," said Senator Moore.
"It's bad enough that financial counselling providers and organisations providing housing and homelessness advice have been gutted by the Abbott Government, but its adding insult to injury by refusing to provide certainty for the few remaining services it hasn't ripped funding from.
"I have heard from a lot of not-for-profits who despite being told they will receive a grant aren't sure when they will be offered a contract or whether it will be enough to keep their doors open.
"In one case an organisation providing emergency relief to the homeless that has been operating in Holroyd, Western Sydney for almost 50 years is being forced to close their doors in February.
"At the very least they would like to refer their clients to other services but they aren't being told what services are still being funded and where they are," said Senator Moore.
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Families and Payments, Senator Carol Brown, said that continuing chaos follows months of uncertainty for community sector organisations that have been nervous since the Abbott Government cut $240 million dollars from the grants program in the May Budget.
"Minister Morrison must end the chaos and confusion surrounding grants funding for community organisations delivering services to vulnerable Australians," said Senator Brown.
"With their current funding ending in February, it is impossible for organisations such as those providing community and family supports and emergency food and financial relief to Australia's most vulnerable people, to plan even weeks into the future.
"The continued bungling of the process may yet destroy services the Department has deemed worthy of funding," said Senator Brown.
THURSDAY, 22 JANUARY 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: MONIQUE EARSMAN (MOORE) 0408 599 800
SUE BAILEY (BROWN) 0417 550 279