The Victorian Government is cutting funding to the state’s social service groups and frontline charities. This will mean job losses and service cuts.
In the news
‘Charities lash out over cuts’, Herald Sun
‘Social funding push’, Bendigo Advertiser
‘Government funding cut ‘devastating”, ABC Radio Melbourne
What’s the problem?
The Victorian Government (through the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing) funds organisations that deliver social services on its behalf.
Each year, this funding is meant to increase enough to cover costs. This is called ‘indexation’.
This year, the government is offering an increase of just 2% — much less than is needed.
Any increase is good, right?
In theory. The problem is the cost of delivering services is rising faster than ever before.
This year costs are going up more than 4%.
So in real terms, the Victorian Government is driving a post-COVID funding cut to social service organisations.
A funding increase of 2% doesn’t even cover half of recent cost increases (see below).
Why have costs gone up so much?
A raft of new costs has been recently imposed on social service organisations.
- A recent increase to the minimum wage
+ 2.5% (Imposed by the Fair Work Comission)
- New superannuation contribution requirements
+ 0.5% (Imposed by the Federal Government)
- New Portable Long Service Leave obligations
+ >1.0% (Imposed by the Victorian Government.
These are all worthy and important reforms. But they come at a cost.
The three cost increases listed above will alone increase organisations’ wages bills by more than 4%
(For context, wages make up roughly 80% of social service organisations’ running costs.)
What will happen if the Victorian Government doesn’t abandon these funding cuts?
A funding cut will mean job losses and service reductions.
Historically, Victoria’s social services sector employs mostly females.
So it will be Victorian women most at risk of losing their jobs as a result of the funding cuts.
What needs to happen?
The Victorian Government must offer a fair and reasonable funding increase.
In short, funding must increase with the true cost of delivering services.
The Victorian Government has already announced it will establish a Working Group to review the process of funding indexation going forward. This is a welcome development.
However, it won’t avert a funding crisis this year.
From ‘Thankyou Day’, October 2020
Days out from a new financial year, community sector organisations funded through the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing still don’t know the rate of indexation that will apply to our funding in 2021-22.
Your voice is powerful.
You can help stave off a potential funding cut – and help win a fair rate of funding indexation for our sector – by writing directly to the Victorian Government today.
We know emails and phone calls to the Treasurer and DFFH Ministers are having an impact.
But we must keep up a powerful stream of correspondence to avoid a looming, but avoidable funding cut in 2021.
We’re asking you to write a letter to the Treasurer and/or most relevant minister on behalf of your organisation, or sector area.
This is a simple yet powerful action you can take, which augments and supports other avenues of advocacy being undertaken concurrently by VCOSS, such as: direct lobbying with ministers, senior political staff and other important stakeholders.
This page details three different ways to write to the Treasurer and/or Minister, and provides resources and tips for each. They are:
An original letter, composed by you and placed under your letterhead. Sent direct to the minister (most effective).
A letter using some provided language and placed on your letterhead. Sent direct to the minister.
A letter mostly comprising provided language, but with some personalisation. Sent by you through this website.
Every letter helps, and shows the government the depth of concern about this issue.
Your email will be more powerful if it’s personalised.
We strongly encourage you to contextualise and localise these overarching advocacy messages. For example, mention:
- Who you support (the people or cohorts you assist)
- How you support them (an overview of your programs and services)
- Where you support them (which parts of the state)
- How many staff you employ
- The impact on your organisation if you don’t get a fair increase in funding (e.g. projected staff cuts and service reductions).