Media Release by The Hon Scott Morrison MP

Abbott Government invests further $40 million to address gaps in frontline community services

Minister for Social Services, the Hon. Scott Morrison today announced the Abbott Government will invest an extra $40 million into more than 100 frontline community services across Australia following a comprehensive gap analysis of the Department of Social Services’ (DSS) grants scheme.

“On becoming Minister I announced that existing frontline community services which were unsuccessful as a result of a comprehensive tender process under the DSS New Way of Working for Grants scheme would receive bridging funding to ensure continuity of services. This funding, through to 30 June, also enabled the government to identify and address critical frontline service gaps that emerged as a result of the grants process which concluded last December,” Minister Morrison said.

“Organisations identified and selected as part of this process will be offered contracts and funding for two additional years, from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2017. This gives certainty to the Australians who rely on these services and to the volunteers, staff, and management who provide them.

“Ninety four organisations have been identified and will now be offered contracts and extended funding to provide ongoing services in these areas see list on [Department of Social Services website]. My Department is engaging with these organisations to work through the contractual arrangements. An additional 17 service providers in the area of mental health are also now being sourced to deliver services in other gap areas. This process will be finalised and outcomes advised in the near future.

“In total more than 100 organisations will receive ongoing funding in excess of $40 million, in funding secured in the 2014/15 Budget, to deliver important frontline community services in areas, after having been unsuccessful in the social services grants round that was finalised last December.

“The organisations receiving these funds play important roles in our local communities – from providing rehabilitation services to those affected by drugs and alcohol, playgroups for children with special needs, to providing support to adult survivors of child sexual abuse.

“I thank my Parliamentary colleagues for bringing these service gaps to my attention. Their representations have been a critical part of this process to ensure that services will continue to be there for those who need them.

“The Abbott Government is investing in some 700 organisations across Australia delivering important services and activities to support their community as part of the DSS New Way of Working for Grants scheme.”

Services and activities now available to the community through a range of different grants programmes include:

  • Children and Parenting Services to boost prevention and early intervention services, provide resources that are aimed at improving children’s development and wellbeing, and support the capacity of those in a parenting role
  • Settlement Services, shared by 90 organisations across Australia which help newly arrived migrants and refugees to become active and fully participating members of the community
  • Community Mental Health to assist organisations across more than 50 locations deliver early intervention support for children and young people up to 18 years of age to reduce risk factors for poor mental health and improve mental health outcomes enabling them to reach their full potential
  • Financial Counselling, Capability and Resilience programmes to support Australians experiencing personal and financial hardship, to address their financial difficulties, and build long-term capability critical to improving or rebuilding their lives
  • Find and Connect services and representative organisations which provide specialist support for people adversely affected by past institutional, child welfare and child migration practices and policies
  • Building community capacity, assisting community organisations to respond to local needs, support vulnerable individuals and families, facilitate partnerships that will result in better services and service integration, and increase participation of people in community life
  • Volunteer Support Services and one-off Volunteer Innovation and Collaboration projects through helping community organisations build better volunteering practices and on-the-ground support and information for volunteers
  • Diversity and Social Cohesion funding to deliver activities and events that empower and connect local communities and their leaders, including the national Harmony Day celebrations.

“These grants not only meet the Abbott Government’s commitment to a host of community groups across Australia, they also provide greater certainty for social service providers to improve service delivery for the community,” Minister Morrison said.

To assist people locate services of interest to them, the DSS Grant Service Directory will be launched on the Department’s website – DSS Grants Service Directory this week. The directory is an easy to use online tool that allows services funded through this process to be searched by type or location.

For more information on the Department of Social Services’ New Way of Working for Grants scheme visit the DSS Grants page.