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"Part of being a person is about helping others."
I share a vision for a society that is fair for all living beings however they may differ. This means that every member has the opportunity to pursue their dreams, to have access to all the basic essentials of life and be able to participate fully in their community.
"I believe the community sector provides a key means through which we can achieve such a society. Therefore it is in everybody’s interests that we have a strong community sector." - Lynn MacLaren MLC, WACOSS Conference 2010
There are a number of key challenges currently facing community agencies:
- The viability of the sector. A fundamental issue is that people working in community agencies are paid much less than their government counterparts. Agencies find it very difficult to recruit and retain staff.
- Nationalisation of social policy is making it harder for local agencies to influence decision making.
- While the Australian Government has been nationalising legislation the WA Government in many instances hasn’t referred its powers. Agencies can often be dealing with two systems e.g. Fair Work Australia as well State Industrial Laws.
- Price rises relating to the Climate Change agenda will affect clients as well as community agencies’ capacity to deliver services. The Climate Change Readiness Project (funded by DEEWR through WACOSS) is helping to position the sector to be ready to take on all the supports that the government puts in place.
- The sector is facing persistent as well as emerging needs. As well as having to serve their “traditional” client base community agencies are seeing new clients come in that have been affected by the GFC.
- The State Government’s Economic Audit Committee is looking at changing how community agencies report to Government. Community Agencies will need to be able to demonstrate efficiency, and effectiveness in service delivery.
Lynn is working with the community sector to achieve the following objectives:
- Salary increases
- Increases in funding to reflect the true cost of service delivery
- More flexibility in funding arrangements
- Review of funding models
- Streamlining accountability requirements
- Development of social wellbeing indicators
- Development of a true partnership that reflects a genuine and mature relationship between government and community services
WA Council of Social Services (WACOSS)– peak organisation for not for profit human service providers