In last week’s eNews, we reported on the Treasury’s outlook for the WA State Economy. The economic projections were not overly positive and the following points are important to consider for Community Service Organisations as we transition to a new economic norm.

The Government’s intention to honour their election commitments is reflected in the Treasury outlook. Election promises have been included in the costings and economic forecast but any policy changes that require new money that was not specifically promised is unlikely to be included in this year’s budget.

Lobbying for a fairer GST distribution among the States looks to be gaining momentum. If successful, a better GST share could help alleviate the State’s debt level. This depends heavily on Federal politics, however the recent State election highlighted to Federal politicians the importance of the GST issue to West Australian voters.

Costings and forecasts included in the Treasury outlook showed there has been marked growth in health expenditure, and it consumes a large amount of State funds. Therefore, the health and welfare sectors are well placed to demonstrate the economic benefits of prevention and early intervention in health and welfare services.

Cohesive, goal driven and integrated services often ensure limited funds are use more efficiently and effectively. The current economic outlook for the State economy offers an opportunity for the Community Services Sector to collaborate with State Government to developing overarching outcomes for our most vulnerable and disadvantaged community members.

The Treasury outlook also identifies savings that can be made across key State Government services despite projections that indicate significant increases in demand for these services. Services included in the savings and demand information include children in care, adult prisons, public hospitals and full time students. These services are prime areas that could be included in collaboration for overarching outcomes with the State Government.

While the projections indicate a future of difficulty, they also provide organisations with the opportunity to participate in greater sector collaboration, important advocacy work and political engagement.

WACOSS will soon be working on the Pre-Budget Submission for the 2018/19 State Budget. The 2017/18 WACOSS Pre-Budget Submission prepared last year remains current for the upcoming October budget.  We aim to reflect sector priorities in our Pre-Budget Submission and advocate on behalf of Community Service Organisations and their clients through our presentations to Government. If you would like to be involved in development of the Submission, please keep an eye out for our formal consultation process starting soon.

Don’t forget, you can always get in touch with WACOSS to discuss sector priorities and emerging issues. We often have numerous strategic and policy driven projects underway which aim to advocate on your behalf and actively encourage your participation.

You can find the Economic & Fiscal Outlook presentation on the Treasury website. Also find the Government media statement here.

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