Page 1462 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 May 2017

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Canberrans. The sector provides services that range from emergency financial relief and food aid to Canberrans dealing with hardship in their lives, to support services for newly arrived Canberrans and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, to young Canberrans, to older Canberrans and to everyone in between.

This government has a strong record of red tape reduction for the community services sector, streamlining funding arrangements including transferring service funding agreements to grants and, as appropriate, extending a number of contracts from three to five years, as well as providing access to a new on-line business tool, breaking new ground, to support compliance and reduce reporting costs.

Just recently, the government’s community support and infrastructure grants program opened. It enables community organisations to apply for a total of $220,000 in funding to fulfil some of the administrative, capital and program needs that every organisation has. This is an increase of $20,000 on the previous year’s funding.

Community organisations may apply for a grant under four project categories: community support and capacity, such as partnerships or training; non-fixed infrastructure and equipment including furniture, storage, work safety equipment; minor capital works and fixed infrastructure; and community support for those in care including cultural, social or sporting opportunities for children and young people in care.

Applications for these grants close at midnight on 28 May and I look forward to announcing the successful applicants at a later date. I encourage all members of the Assembly to get the word out there about these grants and to encourage the community organisations in their own electorates to apply for these grants.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, what is the government doing to support organisations to engage more broadly with the community?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Pettersson for his supplementary. The ACT government understands, of course, that for many community organisations, new forms of outreach and engagement have their own particular costs and challenges. That is why we also have a participation (digital communities) grants program, offering community organisations the opportunity to apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to build their expertise or capacity in using digital technology. The total amount of funding available under this grants program is $125,000. Again, the program recently opened for funding applications. Funds under this program can be used to establish or enhance an organisation’s online presence, to purchase software or hardware, to promote digital literacy among the Canberra community or to translate and provide online information for members of an organisation; or, indeed, for volunteers.

Yesterday, we saw some of the great use of online applications. Just last night, Orange Sky Laundry was recognised as the ACT innovation award winner in the volunteers of the year awards, recognised in part for its innovative approach to both management and engagement with donors and supporters through its appropriate, which logs all

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