Budget empowers local leaders to tackle disadvantage

The Albanese Labor Government will deliver the most meaningful and significant overhaul to the way Australia tackles entrenched disadvantage in our nation’s history – partnering with philanthropists, empowering communities and enhancing place-based approaches, including action in the early years.

Today’s Budget funds substantial investments in cost-of-living relief and meaningful improvements to services like Medicare and Cheaper Childcare.

But in this Budget, we also recognise that there are disadvantaged communities right around Australia where a national approach on its own will never be enough.

We need to listen to and empower local leaders, work with communities and direct services in a way that meets their needs.

And in the constrained fiscal environment, we need to make our existing services work better and seize the opportunity offered by philanthropy in their proposal to work with the government.

The 2023-24 Budget will deliver a $199.8 million package to take on this challenge.

This package has a strong focus on intergenerational disadvantage and child and family wellbeing. Action in the early years of a child’s life – including through health, education and protection from harm – is key to breaking these cycles of disadvantage.

This investment will deliver:

  • A new strategy to partner with philanthropy through the Investment Dialogue on Australia’s Children – enabling the government to coordinate efforts and rapidly divert funding where it’s needed most.
  • A new approach to gain insights and put data in the hands of communities to help guide local decision making and better direct funding.
  • A new strategy to embed and expanding local decision-making in existing place-based initiatives.
  • A new launching pad for further place-based work across government with the aim of unlocking billions of dollars in mainstream service funding, through a government place-based framework.
  • A new $100 million Outcomes Fund which will see the Commonwealth partner with states, territories and social enterprises to tackle disadvantage by funding projects that deliver outcomes in communities.

Quotes from Treasurer Jim Chalmers:

Our Budget is all about creating more opportunities for more people in more parts of Australia to get ahead and this package will help us achieve that.

I’m here to try and make a difference to communities like the one I grew up in, and this combination of new investments will help.

A national approach on its own will never be enough if we’re serious about addressing entrenched, community disadvantage.

To make a meaningful change, we need to work together with state and local governments along with the philanthropic and business communities.

There’s strong appetite in the philanthropic community to partner with government to ensure funding is getting where it’s needed most.

Through this Budget, we’ll empower local leaders and partner with philanthropists to overhaul the way we tackle disadvantage in communities across Australia.

Local leaders know their communities best and this strategy will put locals in the drivers’ seat and allow us to better target funding and support.

Quotes from Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth:

Disadvantage is a complex problem which no single policy, government department, organisation or entity can solve.

We want to help empower communities and the people who live in them. Our investment works towards achieving that.  

Together with local community members, we will work with existing place-based partnerships on the development of co-designed solutions that address community needs and aspirations, including support for local initiatives that drive better outcomes in education and employment, child and maternal health, youth justice, and participation.

We’re focused on evidence-based solutions and outcomes. Place-based solutions are evidence-based and have worked to shift poverty internationally. There is also a body of community evidence of what works locally. This includes improved results in early years, education, health, social, economic and cultural wellbeing for children and families.

Regularly I hear through consultations, including as part of the Early Years Strategy roundtables, how important coordinated services that communities want are in making a difference.

We owe it to all Australians to tackle entrenched disadvantage in our communities.