Cold-hearted funding cuts to community services ensure Tasmanians won't get the support they need

Tasmania’s community services are reeling from the Tasmanian Labor and Liberal election promises of cuts to industry indexation, putting the delivery of essential services to Tasmanians in need at risk.

TasCOSS CEO, Ms Adrienne Picone, said Labor’s admission that it “can’t give the commitment you are looking for” on formula-based indexation would mean a Labor government reverting to an indexation rate of 2.25% on community services contracts, equating to a massive $14.7 million funding cut over four years.

“What these cuts do is send a cold-hearted message to an industry that prides itself on providing essential services to Tasmanians, such as food relief, housing and homelessness services and mental health support,” Ms Picone said.

“That message being: ‘keep doing more with less.’

“This is a devastating message to the thousands of Tasmanians who see community service organisations already struggling to help them pay for petrol, buy groceries, and family and sexual violence counselling, especially when they see tens of millions of dollars in funding promised to private businesses and multinationals.

“The industry isn’t asking for a handout, all we want is for government contracts to cover the real cost of doing business, including the increased costs of insurance, rent, petrol, energy and food, as well as wages increases, which last financial year alone increased by 5.7%.”

Ms Picone said the Liberal’s announcement of an indexation rate on government contracted services of 3.5% for the 2024/25 Financial Year, and 3% for the subsequent three years, in actual fact equated to a cut of $7.35 million over four years.

“On the flip side we are seeing $12 million lavished on a giant chocolate fountain.

“Make no mistake, these cuts to community services industry contracts place essential services at risk, and will ultimately result in more people in Emergency Departments, more people living on the streets, and more Tasmanians without jobs.

“We look forward to further detail on the Tasmanian Green’s commitment to increasing indexation to community services government contracts.

“TasCOSS reiterates our call for the incoming government to adequately resource the community services industry to ensure Tasmanians can get the support they need, when they need it.”

The facts on Tasmania’s community services industry:

  • The industry employs approximately 28,000 workers and represents 8.7% of Tasmania’s economy, contributing $2.7 billion each year to our economic growth.
  • The essential work of the industry keeps Tasmanians out of hospital, helps to keep a roof over their heads and support them into employment.
  • Once provided by government, community services are now mainly or wholly contracted out by government, often to community services organisations.
  • For many years the contracted price for these services has not kept pace with the actual costs of delivering them and the cost of living crisis has also taken its toll, with greater numbers and new cohorts of people seeking support from the industry.
  • The Tasmanian Community Services Industry Peak Network and TasCOSS Members have been calling for increased investment in the industry to ensure Tasmanians can get the support they need, when they need it.

For more information, please refer to TasCOSS’s 2024 Tasmanian State Election Priorities (PDF, 3.24MB), 6. Industry Sustainability.