ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CHARITIES
MEMBER FOR FENNER
MEMBER FOR MACQUARIE
BLUE MOUNTAINS AND HAWKESBURY CHARITIES ROUNDTABLE HIGHLIGHTS ONGOING STRUGGLES
Today we held a successful roundtable with local charities and not-for-profits in the Blue Mountains to discuss concerns over the Morrison Government’s ongoing war on charities.
Australia’s charities are under huge pressure. The double whammy of a pandemic and a recession saw a dramatic drop in both volunteer numbers and fundraising activities. These falls coincided with an increase in demand for services from people who fell through the cracks left by the Morrison Government’s poor planning and inadequate support.
Charities and not-for-profits need more support from the federal government, and recognition that they do so much to hold the social fabric together.
The local groups who joined today‘s conversation included Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group, Hawkesbury’s Helping Hands, Kurrajong Heights Bowling and Recreation Club and The Men’s Table.
One food provider told the meeting that the charity was currently supporting more than 2000 individuals across the area every week relying on its volunteer base.
“Volunteer-run organisations would have loved help through the JobKeeper program, but weren’t eligible for that or any other support,” Ms Templeman said.
“If jobs are lost in small business, as is anticipated once JobKeeper ends later this month, families are going to find it tough and it’s anticipated that more will turn to our local charities for help.
“The Morrison Government needs to support these grassroots networks who serve our community. These charities are at the coal face, and if they don’t get help, our community is going to suffer.”
The round table also heard about the difficult and time-consuming grant application process, and the preference shown to big charities rather than smaller, localised initiatives in the Hawkesbury and the Blue Mountains – additional pressures on charities that are already struggling.
“Many Australians are still reeling from the double whammy of the recession and a pandemic,” Dr Leigh said.
“With a million people are out of work and a million more after more hours, charities are under more pressure than ever to provide support. At the same time, many in the sector are struggling with falling donations and volunteer numbers.
“Australia needs its charities, especially as the deadline for cuts to JobKeeper and JobSeeker loom nearer. It’s time the Morrison Government listened to the sector, instead of expecting them to silently shoulder the burden.”
THURSDAY, 11 MARCH 2021
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.