DO NOT FORGET THE NOT-FOR-PROFIT SECTOR
Northern Territory Council of Social Service response to the 2020/21 NT Budget
The Northern Territory Council of Social Service (NTCOSS) welcomes the release of the NT Budget today that has largely maintained funding across the social and community sector.
The 2020/21 NT Budget has been significantly influenced by reductions in GST revenue, and increased expenditure in measures to support businesses and individuals through the economic effects of COVID-19.
This Budget also comes at a time of high cost of living pressures, particularly for people in remote communities; and today’s Federal Government announcement that the Coronavirus Supplement, received by people on JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and parenting payments, will be reduced by $100 per fortnight from 31 December. The pressure on the not-for-profit and community sector to provide support for people experiencing extreme disadvantage has never been greater.
Within this context, this Budget fails to recognise the Sector as a fundamentally important industry, that employs more people in the NT than mining, and provides services that enable people to access and participate in education, employment, economic development, health services, and family and community life.
“The NT not-for-profit sector is essential to the Territory’s economic and community resilience. We contribute $3.26 billion to the NT economy, and we are vital to the 2020 budget’s stated objectives of creating the nation’s comeback capital,” said NTCOSS CEO Deborah Di Natale.
“We are pleased to see the NT Government expanding the Commonwealth’s JobMaker hiring credit so that now small businesses receive a $200 wage subsidy for hiring a Territorian on JobSeeker, no matter their age.
“We also welcome the training grants for peak industry bodies, the supports for school leavers to engage with the Sector, and continued investment in the renewable remote power program.
“However the Government has developed a number of important reforms, not least the Aboriginal Justice Agreement (AJA) and the Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Action Plan in response to real and pressing need, but has reduced funding to DFSV services, and fails to mention a specific measure to implement the AJA.
“It is also disappointing to see the Government fail to seize the economic stimulus opportunity of investment in social housing, or to see no increased funding in important areas like early support for families to prevent harm against children. Additional investment for family support will ultimately decrease the expenditure in child protection and youth justice, and is long overdue.
“The Chief Minister cannot forget the not-for-profit sector if he wants the Territory to make a strong recovery.”
The Northern Territory Council of Social Service (NTCOSS) is the peak body for the Social and Community Sector in the NT and an advocate for social justice on behalf of people and communities in the NT, who may be affected by poverty and disadvantage.
The Sector employs more than 10,000 people, and contributes more than $3 billion to the Territory’s economy. https://ntcoss.org.au/news/value-of-the-not-for-profit-sector-2020/