Wednesday, 17 March 2010 00:00

National Compact can't be a hollow promise

UnitingCare Australia’s National Director, Susan Helyar, welcomed the Compact between the Australian Government and NGOs launched today at Parliament House in Canberra.

“The principles in the Compact should deliver strong and meaningful relationships between government and NGOs,” Ms Helyar said, “But the true value of this Compact will only be realised if the Government and its departments work promptly with NGOs in determining how best to address key priorities.”

“To make a difference for organisations working at the coalface across Australian communities, the Compact must move beyond principles to action,” Ms Helyar said.

“Clear action plans with mutually agreed goals, targets and milestones are required. Unless implementation and review processes are clear and mutually owned, the Compact risks becoming yet another good idea that doesn’t translate to better outcomes on the ground for people and communities.

“We can’t afford the Compact becoming a hollow promise – ensuring a vibrant and viable NGO sector is too important for Australia,” Ms Helyar said. “UnitingCare Australia stands ready to work in partnership with the Government and its Compact Advisory Group to put meat on the bones of the principles signed on to today by the Prime Minister.

“We look forward to working on a Social Services Action Plan that sets out specific actions to be taken in a defined period. This action plan must pursue the recommendations of the Productivity Commission Report into the not for profit sector and address the key elements of services sustainability: financial models; business models; regulation, compliance and administrative processes; and workforce issues. These issues must be tackled to ensure that our social services can continue to serve the needs of Australians.” concluded Ms Helyar.

Contact: Susan Helyar 0448 791 987

UnitingCare Australia is the national agency for UnitingCare, a network of service providers in over 1300 communities across Australia dedicated to providing assistance to individuals, families and communities. The UnitingCare network is one of the largest providers of community services in Australia.