Catholic Social Services Australia has welcomed an additional $560 million in funding for domestic violence, Indigenous services and housing to be announced in tonight’s federal Budget.
The four-year funding commitment aims to help meet the rising cost of providing community programs and wage increases that social service organisations across the country are all struggling with.
Catholic Social Services Australia executive Monique Earsman said the extra funding would help address the spiralling cost of delivering services to Australia’s most disadvantaged.
“The past three years have been tough for everyone, but as inflation has soared and the call on services has increased, it has become harder and harder to keep up with demand,” Ms Earsman said.
“Demand for our services is at record highs as poverty and disadvantage were exacerbated during the pandemic. At the same time, individual needs have become more complex and harder to meet.
“Housing affordability and homelessness, social isolation, lack of access to mental health supports and cost of living pressures have all added to the burden.
“Sadly, we are now also responding to multiple flood events and other natural disasters, which will have long-term consequences on the price of many basic food staples, like milk, fresh fruit and vegetables.
“The decision by the Government to provide this additional funding in its first Budget is a major vote of confidence in the social services sector and recognition of the vital work it undertakes on behalf of the entire community,” Ms Earsman said.
In a statement, Finance Minister Katy Gallagher said: “We’ve had a look at indexation arrangements in light of the rising cost of providing services and wage increases, and this increase of over half a billion dollars goes to help community organisations meet these costs whilst still maintaining services.”