ACOSS response to ALP community sector proposal

15 March 2022

ACOSS welcomes today’s announcement by the Federal Opposition outlining its proposed community sector policies, in particular undertaking to improve governance and regulation across the sector. 

ACOSS particularly welcomes a range of policies from the Opposition which ACOSS has promoted across Parliament, including fostering a culture of partnership between Government and the community sector.  Some of the key policies ACOSS has advocated include:

  • Moving towards longer and more stable contracting arrangements such as extending the length of contracts up to 6 years or more;
  • Making sure community sector workers are paid a fair wage with decent conditions, and that labour costs are sufficiently funded in contracts;
  • Acknowledging the need for funding arrangements to reflect the cost of providing complex human services to people in need;
  • Proper indexation of funding arrangements;
  • Encouraging diversity in terms of size and scale of community organisations providing services;
  • Protecting charitable advocacy.

We welcome the emphasis on partnership with the community sector to provide ongoing and authentic collaboration in the development of policy and design of services and examination of the most effective funding models.

ACOSS acknowledges that the implementation of the above principles would require close consultation and collaboration over the next parliamentary term and we are pleased to see the Federal Opposition commit to such a partnership with the Community Sector.

ACOSS seeks commitments from all major parties in the lead up to the next Federal Election to support an open and transparent partnership with the community sector, which continues every day to be on the frontline of supporting and protecting people from all walks of life.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said: 

“Over the past three years every person living in Australia has been affected by bushfires, floods, COVID-19 or some combination of all these disasters. Community organisations have been absolutely critical in helping hundreds of thousands of people to survive and cope during this time.”

“It’s vital that the next Federal Government, whoever they may be, better tap into the service expertise and policy knowledge in the sector to help Australia move into a period of recovery and stability.

“We welcome the Federal Opposition for making its election commitments clear to the Community Sector. We think that the principles framework announced today by the ALP is a positive step towards improved governance, regulation and collaboration with the community sector and urge a bipartisan approach to working with our sector.

“It is absolutely the time for government to strengthen its partnership with the community sector to ensure people in need can equitably access essential services and be assisted to overcome hardship, disadvantage and poverty.”

Edwina MacDonald, ACOSS Deputy CEO said:

“The community sector has consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure no one is left behind. Staff have worked longer hours, including without pay, to help people. We are encouraged by the Federal Opposition’s focus on ACOSS policy asks such as improving contracting arrangements, and ensuring the workforce is remunerated with fair wages and conditions.

“We also welcome the Federal Opposition’s proposals to protect charities legitimate right to advocate for systemic policy change on behalf of the people they serve every day in our communities. The vitality of our democracy depends greatly on a robust civil society representing everyday people. Given recent attempts to curtail charitable advocacy, we are pleased to see that this forms part of the Opposition’s commitments.”


For further information please contact: Bronwen Reed on 0419 626 155