Our Challenge: 

To become an effective leader of Neighbourhood and Community Centres so their value will be increased.

NEIGHBOURHOOD CENTRES FORGOTTEN IN STATE BUDGET

QFCA would like to congratulate the Queensland Government for addressing chronic under-housing in the State Budget for 2021/2022.  For all of us working in the human services sector this is very welcome news and a much-needed injection into the housing sector. 

However, even though the Queensland Government recognises Neighbourhood Centres as vital, place based social infrastructure, we are disappointed that this budget has not delivered any extra resources to centres or the peak body for the critical work that we do. 

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Credit: Darren England/AAP

The Queensland Government has commissioned numerous reports since 2017 which identify Neighbourhood Centres as vital, place-based social infrastructure. The same research also states that these centres are grossly under resourced, with Government’s Neighbourhood Centre funding often paying for just one worker. This is compounded by the increasing complexity of working with communities affected by natural disasters, homelessness, social isolation and financial hardship. While we welcome the investment of the Department into housing this does not address crisis at a grassroots level. 

“Neighbourhood Centres are the lowest funded social service in the state with the widest open door for those most disadvantaged and vulnerable in the community. We want the  government to invest in neighbourhood centres as neighbourhood centres invest in their communities”, stated QFCA president Tomas Passeggi. 

QFCA welcomes the work of Minister Enoch and the Neighbourhood Centre reform process which includes the planning of an equitable investment framework. This time next year, we are hopeful that this government will be recognising the core value of Neighbourhood Centres with a significant funding increase. Yet as this work takes place over the next 12 months, we are very concerned about the impact on Neighbourhood Centres as they respond to ongoing community crises with no extra resourcing in this budget.  

Alana Wahl, Manager of Laidley Community Centre, states “the work we do at the coalface of a Neighbourhood Centre has changed dramatically since COVID-19. While we wait to see the outcomes of sector reforms, community centres urgently need interim funding to ensure the health and safety of workers, volunteers and the community.  This extra resourcing is needed now, not next year”.  

 

Media contact: 

Em James 

General Manager, QFCA 

gm@qfca.org.au