As the National Cabinet prepares to land in Pilbara’s Port Headland on Sept. 16, nonprofits across the state are watching with close attention the rising cost of living, rising bank rates and d other pressure points affecting the community as a whole. When the government or other national institutions fail to meet these needs, it is often the responsibility of NFPs to bridge the gap.
So, in light of all of the above, in a two-part article for Hearts & Minds, we asked some of WA’s top NFPs what they hope visiting the set of Canberra will do for people who ‘they serve.
A nation in doubt and in need
CEO of Anglicare WAMark Glasson, cuts to the chase.
“When the National Cabinet meets in Port Hedland, I would ask them to really think about what is essential for a good, full life,” he said.
“’What should every Australian have access to to give them that opportunity?’ For us, the answer is clearly housing and income security. If the Albanian government can meet these basic needs, in a way that gives people a chance to thrive, then they are investing in building a better society and ultimately saving money. long-term.
“We know that if you work with people to help them live above the poverty line, providing them with adequate housing with the necessary supports, they will lead much better and more fulfilled lives. They will have far better economic, social and psychological outcomes, and will ultimately require far less public investment in the future.
In many ways, Port Hedland is a good place for this meeting to take place, Glasson believes.
“Pilbara in Western Australia is the engine room of the national economy, but all they have to do is look over the hill to see the people who are missing.
“The 2022 Anglicare WA Rental Affordability Snapshot showed that for a couple with two children, earning minimum wage and receiving parental payment, there was just a Affordable and decent unique property in all of Northwest WA.
“We want the Federal Cabinet to recognize that people are making life very hard, that the private rental market is not sufficient to meet the basic need for secure housing and that the way we have built our economy is failing a number growing number of our most vulnerable people”.
Food for everyone
In a country as wealthy as Australia, it is almost a national scandal that there is such a thing as food insecurity. For NFPs facing this challenge – like Foodbank WA – the daily experience of seeing families and individuals find ways to fight hunger is a heartbreaking ongoing challenge.
“One in six people are food insecure,” said Kate O’Hara, CEO of WA Food Bank.
“There are many reasons people end up food insecure, including unexpected bills, medical issues, mental health, marital separation, death of a family member, or insecurity of employment.
“Our mission is to ensure that everyone who needs food can access food aid for as long as they need it. By helping households facing financial pressures with an option to better manage food costs, we know it helps households stay out of the cycle of homelessness. But WA is a big state and we need government support to ensure we can reach regional and remote areas, which are overrepresented in food insecurity.
Addressing the cycle of homelessness
For St Patrick’s Community Support Center (St Pat’s), the lack of affordable and safe housing is a persistent problem that seems unresolved. Without this key strategy, the cycle of homelessness will continue unabated.
“The only way to end homelessness in Australia is with strong, proactive and bipartisan leadership from the federal government,” said St Pat’s CEO Michael Piu.
“While the issues that drive people into homelessness can be complex, through decades of research, trial and error, we have working models and practical, evidence-based solutions with proven results. .
“What we need now is a collaborative national effort involving all states and territories to drive the application of the strategy and funding to help service providers and communities apply the right solutions to the local level.”
A tendency to “pass the buck” across successive political regimes has also contributed to a blurry approach to this essential human issue, Mr Piu believes.
“Inconsistent leadership at the federal level over the long term has made it difficult for the community services sector to plan, invest and innovate. It has also had a huge impact on our social housing stock and to prevent the crisis from getting worse, which will cost both people’s health and well-being and the economy, the federal government must have a national strategy supported by bi-partisan strategies to ensure the flow of resources and their proper application. »
Increasing well-being is a must
Susan Rooney, CEO of Vinnies WA believes that nonprofits do more than just measure what they do in the community. There is a strong urge to know if what they are doing is actually leading to meaningful change. This is something that governments at all levels must also do.
“There is no doubt that one of the most effective measures the federal government could take is to increase the JobSeeker rate, the Youth Allowance and other income support payments permanently and at a level that ensures people can cover their basic living needs, including housing,” she says.
“$40 a day just isn’t enough to live on. We know from the experience with the COVID supplement payments that they have made a positive difference in people’s lives because they suddenly had a bit more money to pay for the things they needed.
In addition to the above, an increase in funds to help pay for a roof over people’s heads is also a mandatory requirement.
“We want the Federal Government to increase the rate of the Commonwealth Rent Assistance payment by 50 per cent for low-income households renting privately and broaden the eligibility criteria,” Ms Rooney said.
“If the state government were to introduce a housing allowance as well, we could make a real difference for people suffering from tenancy stress and prevent them from falling into homelessness.
“We also urge the federal government to urgently develop the promised National Housing and Homelessness Plan and to fund it appropriately. This plan should include a specialized framework for youth homelessness and fund approaches and services consistent with the best available evidence and practices to prevent and end youth homelessness.
Animal welfare on the agenda
RSPCA WA helps close animal welfare gaps at the state level by enforcing animal welfare law, investigating and prosecuting cases of animal cruelty on behalf of the state government.
RSPCA WA CEO Ben Cave said the organization receives government funding for the function, but the vast majority of RSPCA WA’s running costs come from donations, fundraising, bequests and social enterprises such as dog training.
“It’s one thing to save animals from really horrible situations, but what happens to them then? The rehabilitation and relocation costs are enormous,” he said.
“We also run many programs – to help low-income pet owners and educate school children about animal welfare, for example – that also need to be funded.”
Mr Cave said if he had the opportunity to speak to the National Cabinet when he next visited WA he would have a lot on his mind regarding the work of the RSPCA WA. However, creating a fairer tax environment for employees of animal charities is an issue that needs to be addressed for the entire animal welfare industry.
“The Australian Government supports Public Benevolent Institutions (PBIs) by allowing their employees to receive a portion of their income as tax-free benefits,” Mr Cave said.
“This recognizes the valuable work these NPOs do, the fact that salaries in NPOs are often lower than in for-profit organizations, and the importance of providing incentives to attract and retain skilled workers.
“Unfortunately, animal charities are exempt from this PBI status, although the health and welfare benefits of the human-animal bond are measurable and indisputable.”
Over two-thirds of Australian households have a pet, contributing over $13 billion annually to the Australian economy. Plus, recent studies show that owning a pet saves nearly $4 billion in healthcare costs each year.
‘I would respectfully ask the National Cabinet to correct the imbalance when it comes to animal welfare charities,’ Mr Cave said.
“An economy of well-being”
The health of the nation is directly linked to those who are in poor health, who lack resources and who are in need. As such, it behooves those in power to urgently reach out to those at the bottom of society’s pile to raise the happiness index of the entire nation.
Supported housing, hospital facilities, respite retreats, continuing education programs and the dedicated staff of Ronald McDonald House Charities WA are necessary for patients, families and hospital partners to achieve health and well-being outcomes. welfare.
Peter King, CEO of RMHC WA believes that the time has come to introduce a “welfare economy”.
“RMHC WA is encouraged by the Albanian government’s announcement to introduce a ‘welfare economy’ for its policy and budget decisions,” Mr King said.
“It is important that leaders from the nonprofit and private sectors have a seat at the table with government to shape this reform. I would like to see the government take the lead in facilitating dialogue and cross-sector collaboration opportunities for community health and well-being.
Above all, the NFP sector wants to be brought to the table as a group with government more often to help bring about real change, suggests Kate O’Hara of Foodbank WA.
“The NFP sector in WA is more collaborative and change could be brought about if there was genuine collaboration and engagement with the government in policy development and execution resulting in improved welfare of all West Australians.”