ACOSS, COSS network and ASU Covid-19 community sector rescue package recommendations

21 March 2020

The Councils of Social Service (COSS) Network and the ASU are calling on the Federal Government to support the community sector to respond to the COVID-19 health, social and economic crisis. Specifically the Federal Government should:

  1. Extend all business related stimulus measures to community sector and not for profit organisations.
  2. Create a Community Sector continuity of service enabling Fund to ensure continuity of service delivery, secure jobs, prevent loss of jobs or income, guaranteed paid special leave for all workers, and to enable ramp up of services for people in need as well ensure that services remain viable to assist with the recovery from the pandemic.
  3. Urgently respond to the specific asks of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Organisations.
  4. Urgently provide program level funding to community services that rely on individual funding arrangements to stabilise workforce and allow for adaptation e.g. child care, employment and other services, out of home care, NDIS.
  5. Commit to restore funding for the Equal Remuneration Order implementation.
  6. Provide additional funding to housing and homelessness services, accommodation and residential services to purchase suitable safe housing for people who are living in rooming houses or accommodation, residential or group home services in overcrowded housing, or who are sleeping rough.
  7. Guarantee access to Personal Protected Equipment and other essential supplies including Food Supplies to ensure basic needs are met.
  8. Create maximum flexibility on contract requirements for government-funded organisations to enable responsiveness to changing community needs and crisis, for example:
    • Delay or relax reporting obligations;
    • Freeze government reform and new tendering processes;
    • Suspend KPIs and outcomes to allow for adaption to new conditions;
    • Remove penalties for non-compliance with contracts arising from COVID-19 Emergency.
    • Allow flexibility in how funds are used to support our community safely during COVID-19