It's Neighbourhood Centre Week!

To mark Neighbourhood Centre Week 2024, Abigail gave notice of a motion in Parliament calling on Labor to commit ongoing core funding in the NSW 2024-25 Budget to support both existing and new neighbourhood centres, recognising their vital role in our communities. 

Abigail said:

I give notice that on the next sitting day I will move: 

(1) That this House notes that:

  • the week from 13 May to 19 May 2024 is Neighbourhood Centre Week, which is a nationwide event that celebrates the  invaluable role of the over 1,000 neighbourhood and community centres (NCCs) across Australia, including the 180 NCCs across NSW, in ensuring the long-term wellbeing and resilience of communities;
  • NCCs provide vital frontline services for vulnerable people within their local communities including domestic and family violence services, trauma-informed counselling and care, crisis housing and homelessness support, flood and bushfire recovery, supports for children with disability, referral services and more;
  • according to the Local Community Services Association (LCSA), the peak body and membership organisation for NCCs in NSW, only 27% of NCC staff are full-time employees, with funding often short-term, inflexible and not inclusive of funding for staffing, infrastructure or operational requirements; 
  • no NCC should be forced to turn away vulnerable people who turn to them in crisis, but unfortunately because of a lack of recurrent core funding, many NCCs in NSW currently have only one staff member onsite per day which results in either an unsafe working environment or closing their doors to the public at short notice; and 
  • NCCs are often the first service that vulnerable people engage with when seeking help, and often provide wraparound care and services for individuals and families to help them heal, recover and prosper. 

(2) That this House further notes that LCSA in their 2024-25 Pre-Budget Submission called on the NSW Government to provide: 

  • an annual Social Infrastructure Investment, separate and in addition to program funding, into existing and new NCCs, including: 
    • annual core funding of $306,768 per NCC, coming to an annual total of $53.7 million for 175 NCCs across NSW; and
    • $5 million Community Investment Fund: a one-off Fund to which organisations can apply to either top up their baseline funding or create new NCCs;
  • a one-off Loneliness Investment Fund of $3.7 million;
  • funding for two dedicated positions at LCSA to support capacity building of the sector for $236,000 per year; and
  • a funding increase of 25% to Early Intervention and Prevention, currently delivered by the Department of Communities and Justice through the Targeted Early Intervention (TEI) program. 

(3) That this House commends the work of all NCCs across NSW for the important work that they carry out everyday within their communities, providing dedicated expert care to vulnerable people who may otherwise slip through the cracks. 

(4) That this House calls on the NSW Government to commit to provide recurrent core funding for existing and new neighbourhood and community centres in the NSW 2024-25 Budget, in line with the funding requests of LCSA.

 

Abigail tried moving the motion to be considered as formal business, but it was objected to and did not pass. 

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