The largest survey of Australia’s community services sector reveals that 80% of frontline agencies are unable to meet current levels of demand with the resources they have. The biggest gaps in meeting demand are in the areas of greatest community need.

The survey of almost 1,000 community service workers from around the country shows that 43% of services are simply unable to meet the needs of people coming to them for help. A further 37% can ‘almost’ meet demand. Only 20% reported being able to meet demand fully.

The Australian Community Sector Survey was conducted by the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS), on behalf of the national Network of Councils of Social Service of which WACOSS is part. It includes the insights and lived experience of 154 Western Australia organisations delivering frontline community services to disadvantaged and vulnerable Western Australians.

“The Council is particularly concerned that the evidence clearly indicates that biggest gaps in service delivery are in some of the areas of greatest community need, with community legal centres and crisis accommodation services reporting the greatest difficulty meeting demand,” said Irina Cattalini, CEO of WACOSS today.

“More than half of the front-line community workers interviewed reported that the quality of life of our young unemployed has got “a lot worse” and 56% indicated that life for sole parents was now more stressful.”

“These findings from those who work daily with some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community show clearly where Western Australia needs to focus its efforts,” said Ms Cattalini. “The report shows the priorities for service growth are housing and homeless, mental health services and family support.

The biggest priorities for policy reform for people living on low incomes are State concessions and other measures to reduce the cost of living, particularly affordable housing, transport and utilities.”

“The Council is calling on the Western Australian Government to deliver on its promise to review the adequacy, appropriateness and targeting of State concessions to ensure that they are efficient and effective in providing support to those most in at risk of poverty and exclusion within our community,” she concluded.

Media Contact: Irina Cattalini, CEO of WACOSS, 9420 7222 or 0422 422 438


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