Page 3852 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 19 September 2017

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A new streamlined relationship management system for the Community Services Directorate was introduced, producing further savings estimated at $200,000 per year for the sector. The maximum term of funding agreements was extended from three years to up to five years. There was a review and redevelopment of the suite of contractual arrangements for community sector funding in conjunction with the sector. The BNG business tool was procured for community sector organisations, providing electronic support for a range of regulatory requirements. The system has the potential to deliver significant savings to community sector organisations in reduced effort to ensure regulatory provisions are met.

The levy ended on 30 June 2017. But the work does not stop there. Funds raised from the levy will support priorities identified under the ACT community services industry strategy 2016-26. The industry strategy, which sets out a 10-year vision for the community services industry, was developed and will be implemented in partnership with the sector. The joint community government reference group—JCGRG—is responsible for the industry strategy, and a subcommittee of the JCGRG is developing the strategy’s first implementation plan, focusing on workforce capability.

Support continues to be provided in the form of equal remuneration payments, and this will continue until 2020. The community sector industry strategy envisages three three-year action plans, the first of which is focused on workforce capability and sustainability of the community sector. Funds remaining from the co-contribution levy, which totalled just over $671,000 as at 30 June 2017, will support priorities identified under the strategy.

I was pleased to open the strategy forum, held in June, which brought together a range of community sector organisations to look at the development of a workforce plan. Multicultural and volunteer-led organisations were represented at the workshop alongside large and small community service providers. Four themes emerged from the sector’s feedback: the need to grow the workforce to support current and future needs, to improve retention of the current workforce, to strengthen capability and career development and to cultivate leadership and succession planning.

The workforce plan will recognise the workforce development projects already underway, including almost $1.3 million committed to disability workforce development in the context of the NDIS, and the need to avoid duplication while building on existing initiatives.

Finally, avoiding regulatory duplication was a priority of the reform program. One of its key initiatives was realised when the Minister for Regulatory Services introduced a bill to address duplication in the Associations Incorporation Act and the Charitable Collections Act for charities registered with the ACNC. This bill was passed on 6 June and came into effect on 1 July.

The work of regulatory reform continues, with the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate and the Community Services Directorate continuing to consult on further reducing red tape and unnecessary administrative burdens on community sector organisations.

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