2020/21 Highlights from the Federal Budget – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
This year’s federal budget announcement contains a mix of the good, the bad, and the downright ugly for the region’s many vulnerable residents and for the region’s hard working community services organisations, according to the Community Industry Group, the peak body for community services in southern NSW. Tax cuts for people on low and middle incomes will mean more in the pay packets of many of the hard working people in the community services industry. However unemployment is high across the Illawarra and NSW South Coast, and we must remember that tax cuts do nothing for those who don’t have jobs. It was good to see some new opportunities in the important community housing sector, but a higher investment in the social housing sector as well would have provided a real economic stimulus for the region. The doubling of free mental health therapy sessions from 10 to 20 is welcomed, particularly […]
Annual General Meeting
We are very excited to have two Special Guest Speakers at our (virtual) Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 24 November at 10am. Addressing the theme REimagine, REenergise, REsilience we are pleased to introduce to you Dan Nahum & Denis Moriarty to talk about their observations on the future of community services post pandemic. Dan Nahum is Economist with the Centre for Future Work. His research interests include industrial transformation, labour markets in low-carbon economies, government finances, and inequity and inequality. Previous to joining the Centre for Future Work, he held roles in the Australian government in various social and economic policy fields, including Indigenous Affairs and the Office for Women. He holds a Masters of Political Economy from the University of Sydney, where he focused on the moral dimensions of climate change, and an Honours degree from Macquarie University. Denis Moriarty is the Group Managing Director of the Our Community […]
TEI Program Logics
The Department of Communities and Justice have developed a highly interactive learning module to help organisations understand and develop program logics. It has functionalities that allow users to pause and check their understanding, embedded links to key targeted earlier intervention resources and examples of program logic. Click here for more information.
Social Isolation Survey
The impacts of social isolation have become a major concern since restrictions have been put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. For many people living on low-incomes, such as those with part time or casual positions, or people receiving income support payments like JobSeeker, it can be difficult to participate in social activities. Clothing, food or ticket prices can be out of reach for many people and even having friends over for dinner can be outside of the budget. Community Industry Group is conducting a survey to gain an understanding of how people keep connected when they’re struggling on insufficient income. Please participate in our survey, it is anonymous and should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CIGSIS2020
Rental Affordability Snapshot – Special Update
Anglicare Australia has released a Special Update to their Rental Affordability Snapshot. The Snapshot highlights the lived experience of looking for housing on a low income, focussing on those on government payments or earning minimum wage. The report details a major disconnect between commentary on the rental market and how it works for those hardest hit by the pandemic. Affordability has actually become worse for people on low incomes. Governments need to take real action to ensure every Australian has a home. Click here to read the report.
Bushfire Recommendation Campaign – We need your help!
South East NSW Bushfire Crisis – Impact, Response & Recovery Report Community Industry Group recently released the South East NSW Bushfire Crisis – Impact, Response & Recovery Report. We worked directly with service providers in disaster-affected areas, and heard first-hand accounts of the impact on individuals, families and communities. We have heard about what has been and is currently being done, what should be done, and how bushfire affected communities are recovering and rebuilding. Our report also includes seven recommendations for recovery. Employment Issues Children, Families and Young People Aged Services Disability Housing and Homelessness Mental Health Community Development and Support Click here for our printable Recommendation Summary flyer. We are advocating for the recommendations to be implemented and encourage community service organisations and individuals to get involved. We need your help to get these recommendations implemented. We have created a template letter that you can use to send to your […]
Grant Finder Portal
We have received funding through the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) for a regional custom grant portal. NGOs will be able to visit the portal to find grant opportunities which are available in our region. Each grant will be summarised in a one-page template, and the portal will include search, planning and automated notification functionality. Members will be able to create a profile on the portal to store their grant info and preferences, and notifications will be sent when appropriate grants are available. The portal is accessible now and we will run training soon to help people navigate the site and get the maximum usage from it. We would like to give our grateful thanks to our funding partners, DCJ, for partnering with us to bring this great resource to our region. Click here to view the grant finder portal.
Save Social Work campaign
On 17 June 2020 the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment released a discussion paper Job-Ready Graduates Higher Education Reform Package 2020. The paper notes that Commonwealth subsidy for social work will drop and student contribution will rise from $6,684 to $14,500 per year. These changes will exacerbate already critical shortages of qualified Social Workers. The Save Social Work campaign is being undertaken by the Australian Council of Heads of Schools of Social Work to encourage the Federal Government to reverse its decision about the funding formula for Social Work degrees. Signing the petition here https://www.savesocialwork.org/. Questions about the campaign can be directed to email@example.com.
Recommendation 5: Housing and Homelessness
South East NSW Bushfire Crisis – Impact, Response & Recovery Report Community Industry Group recently released the South East NSW Bushfire Crisis – Impact, Response & Recovery Report. We worked directly with service providers in disaster-affected areas, and heard first-hand accounts of the impact on individuals, families and communities. We have heard about what has been and is currently being done, what should be done, and how bushfire affected communities are recovering and rebuilding. Our report also includes seven recommendations for recovery. Employment Issues Children, Families and Young People Aged Services Disability Housing and Homelessness Mental Health Community Development and Support We are advocating for the recommendations to be implemented and encourage community service organisations and individuals to get involved. For more information click here. Recommendation 5 – Housing and Homelessness Our recommendation is $5 million per year for 5 years ($25m) additional program funding for services which support communities in […]
Homelessness Week 2020
2-8 August 2020 is Homelessness Week. This year the theme is Everybody Needs a Home. Homelessness refers to so much more than rough sleepers. Educate yourself about housing issues with our Housing Spectrum Fact Sheet available here. Please feel free to share this resource with your networks. Everybody Needs a Home.
Permanent Increase to JobSeeker a Missed Opportunity
Community Industry Group, the peak body for community service organisations in south east NSW, commented on today’s announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenburg on the JobKeeper and JobSeeker payment. CEO Nicky Sloan expressed concern that the 1.6 million people currently depending on the JobSeeker payment will experience a $150 per week cut to the Coronavirus Supplement from September, with a further announcement about the future of the supplement by the end of the year. “While we are pleased that the Coronavirus Supplement will continue for another three months, we are disappointed that the amount of the supplement has been reduced,” Ms Sloan said. “But of even more concern is the lack of security about what people living on JobSeeker will receive from December.” “This is a missed opportunity to announce a permanent, adequate increase to a rate of income support which is widely condemned as insufficient […]
Free micro course: Introduction to Volunteering
Check out our latest free micro course – Introduction to Volunteering. Volunteering can be very rewarding but there are some responsibilities too. This short micro course is designed to give you an overview of what it will be expected of you as a volunteer. At the end of the course there are many resources listed to help you find more information specific to your state or territory. http://communityindustrygroup.org.au/whats-on/online-training/
New video reveals reality of being homeless in a bushfire impacted area
Community Industry Group is proud to release a short video revealing the reality of life for people experiencing homelessness in bushfire impacted areas across South East NSW. “So much of the focus during and after the bushfires has been on people whose homes were destroyed. But this video raises awareness of those people who were not lucky enough to have a home before the fires, and who are finding it even more difficult to find a safe, secure and appropriate place to live now they are competing with insurance companies for scarce rental properties,” commented Nicky Sloan, CEO. The Homelessness in South East NSW video can be accessed here and an accompanying Fact Sheet here. The South East NSW Bushfire Crisis – Impact, Response & Recovery Report is available here.
Check out the latest news!
The latest newsletter is out now! It is full of community service news and events, positions vacant and professional development opportunities. Check it out here: http://communityindustrygroup.org.au/news/newsletters/ To subscribe to our fortnightly e-newsletter sign up here: http://communityindustrygroup.org.au/subscribe/ If you are a member of Community Industry Group you can send us your events for inclusion.
National wage case means cut to service provision
On 19 June 2020, the Fair Work Commission handed down their annual wage review decision. The Commission decision is that minimum wages in modern awards will be increased by 1.75% from the start of the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2020 for Group 1 Awards (SHCADS is a Group 1 Award). While community organisations are only too happy to increase staff pay, there is no doubt that, without funding to cover it, the decision will put added pressure on community sector budgets. Especially since the rate of indexation for NSW funded programs did not cover the previous annual wage review. Community Industry Group has written to the NSW Treasurer and to the Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services requesting an immediate increase in funding for all NSW government funded community services to enable them to pay the increase and continue to deliver services to their […]
Free Micro-Course: Prevention of Older Person Abuse
Every older person has the right to: Control and access their own money Choose to see family and friends when they want to Attend appointments without another person present Have access to clean clothing, food and their own medication Everyone has the right to feel safe and be treated with dignity and respect in their own home and within their community. Unfortunately, some older people’s rights are not respected and they are not safe. This is called older person abuse. Older person abuse is defined as a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to another person. To find out more please take our free micro-course here: http://communityindustrygroup.org.au/whats-on/online-training/
Inquiry Report – Adequacy of Newstart and related payments
On 25 July 2019, the Senate referred an inquiry into the adequacy of Newstart and related payments and alternative mechanisms to determine the level of income support payments in Australia to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report. The committee tabled its report of the inquiry in the Senate on 30 April 2020. The report is available here. Community Industry Group worked with members and other stakeholders to research and write a submission, and we are pleased to note that many of our assertions and recommendations have been included in the report. The Report includes 27 Recommendations, most of which are for further areas of Inquiry or review. Recommendation 2 perhaps sums up the findings best: The committee recommends the Australian Government immediately undertake a review of the income support system to ensure that all eligible income support recipients do not live in poverty.
Release of Southern Bushfire Impact Report and Resources
Community Industry Group is pleased to announce that it has released a report outlining the impacts of the 2019/20 bushfires on community organisations, and on vulnerable individuals, families, and communities in South East NSW; as well as two video resources highlighting the issues and responses for aged services providers, and the impact of trauma. “Throughout the bushfire crisis and beyond, community service organisations have been on the ground providing support to affected individuals, families and communities,” said Community Industry Group CEO, Nicky Sloan. “From alert to evacuation to post-fire recovery, providers across a range of sectors including aged care, disability, child and family, homelessness and more have witnessed and experienced first-hand the successes and challenges of disaster recovery.” To read our full media release click here. To view our report and resources click here.
Regional Aged Care Forum
We invite you to attend our first online Regional Aged Care Forum on Wednesday 20 May 2020. It’s free! To view the agenda click here. Book your place here.
COVID-19 leads to enormous impacts for Community Service Organisations
Unprecedented is a word I generally detest. I find it has been so overused and hackneyed that it has often lost its meaning. However, life in the time of COVID-19 is truly unique, and the word ‘unprecedented’ has never been more relevant. The Board and Staff of Community Industry Group send our thoughts and good wishes out to all of you. We know that, as is often the case, many of the measures and restrictions now in place are impacting our most vulnerable community members the hardest. We know that our members and colleagues in community service organisations are working hard to continue to support your clients and communities. Despite the current restrictions, Community Industry Group continues to support your work. Although many of the team are working from home, the office is still open with limited team members on site, and strict safety protocols in place. Like many of […]
Our hopes for future Stimulus Packages
The Stimulus Packages passed recently have a strong focus on supporting business, something which is very important at a time of falling demand. But community service organisations are struggling with the opposite problem, for many, demand is on the rise. While we are pleased to note the extension of the Business Continuity funding to community organisations, what we really need is long term increases to program level funding. For many community organisations, demand has been steadily increasing over recent years, as people living on low incomes fall further into poverty and despair. The recent bushfire and flood disasters have placed further pressure on their already strained resources, and demand is already escalating as the impacts of the coronavirus are experienced. As a major employment sector across the region, increasing funding for community service organisations will increase employment and also stimulate the economy. The other initiative which we would have liked […]
A note on Jobkeeper Payments The legislation surrounding the Jobkeeper payments of $750 per week for each employee will go before Parliament today. The Australian Government has announced that $130 billion will be available over the next six months to support businesses and charities/not for profits to retain jobs or retain connections with their employees so they can be re-employed when conditions improve. Most workers at risk of losing their job (or who have lost it since 1 March) will be eligible for a $1500 per fortnight JobKeeper Payment – paid to their employer who will pass it on to the employee. JobKeeper is a flat rate payment for all workers in organisations that meet the eligibility requirements, regardless of their employment status or actual hours of work. Employers will top up the payment for workers who remain employed and who earn more than $1500 per fortnight. Payments will be able to be […]
What you need to know about the Stimulus Packages
Last week, both Stimulus Packages announced by the Federal Government were passed through Parliament. The Packages include: A $750 one-off payment for social security recipients, including pensioners and concession card holders to be paid late March – mid April. A payment of $550 per fortnight as a Coronavirus Supplement to both existing and new recipients of JobSeeker Payment (formerly Newstart), Youth Allowance jobseeker, Youth Allowance student, Abstudy, Austudy, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit. This Supplement will begin in late April for six months. A second $750 one-off payment for everyone who receives a social security payment but who is not eligible for the 6-month supplement to be paid in July. People who currently receive a social security payment will automatically receive the extra supports they are eligible for. So if you or your clients are already receiving a social security payment, you do not need to contact […]
Moratorium Must Not Cripple People with Debt
Community Industry Group welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement of a six month moratorium on evictions as a result financial distress from COVID-19, but cautioned that measures must be taken to ensure that both tenants and landlords are not left with crippling debts. “The moratorium will be incredibly reassuring for people who are struggling to meet their rental payments,” said Nicky Sloan, CEO of Community Industry Group. “People are feeling particularly anxious at the moment, and with concerns about further job losses and reduced income, some certainty about keeping a roof over their heads will provide a sense of calm in the face of overwhelming unease.” Community Industry Group are concerned, however, that the announcement comes without any supports such as rental subsidies or rent assistance. “The Prime Minister’s announcement was somewhat oblique as to how the moratorium will be implemented,” Ms Sloan added. “He has just asked tenants and landlords […]