ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION
MEMBER FOR FRASER
CLARE O’NEIL MP
MEMBER FOR HOTHAM
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR BRUCE
NO RELIEF FOR SOUTH-EAST MELBOURNE CHARITIES
Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh, Member for Hotham Clare O’Neil and Labor Candidate for Bruce Julian Hill visited South East Community Links today and saw firsthand the incredible work the organisation does in supporting the community, from employment, financial and counselling services, to assisting refugees and newly arrived migrants.
Andrew Leigh said “Labor is a friend of the sector. We have spent the past three years defending the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) from ideologues in the Abbott-Turnbull Government who set out to kill it. Under previous social services ministers Kevin Andrews and Scott Morrison, the government made scrapping the charities commission part of its so-called "red tape repeal" agenda”.
The Coalition belatedly bowed to public pressure and dropped its plans to abolish the Charities Commission, giving organisations like South East Community Links the opportunity to spend less time doing paperwork, and more time helping residents of South East Melbourne.
The positive news for South East Community Links has been short lived with access to funding for interpreter services cut by the Abbott-Turnbull Government. One-in-eight of South East Community Links’ clients need access to their interpreter services, crucial in one of Australia’s most multicultural areas.
Julian Hill said “Today, as community members in South-East Melbourne we are here to celebrate the efforts of those in our charity and non-for-profit sector, particularly South East Community Links, who do such wonderful work. It's so upsetting to suffer yet another attack by the Abbott-Turnbull Government on the most vulnerable, coming on top of already cruel cuts to emergency relief funding. Cutting access to interpreters forces services to dip into emergency relief funding, and unfairly impacts on our community as Dandenong”.
Clare O’Neil said “To identify cuts to crucial services like those provided at South East Community Links as savings shows just how out of touch this Government is. The impact cuts like this will have on multicultural communities who are already marginalised and are extremely vulnerable is of grave concern to us”.
Now that the Coalition has dropped its blinkered objection to the charities commission, it should work with states and territories to make the body a true 'one-stop shop' for charities. The Australian Capital Territory and South Australian governments are already cooperating with the charities commission to reduce duplication in reporting, and Victoria is moving in the same direction. Other states and territories should be encouraged to follow suit.
Labor understands the sector needs certainty in governance and funding. The Government needs to get on board and stop throwing unnecessary obstacles and further uncertainty to ensure the long-term viability of the sector.
THURSDAY, 31 MARCH 2016