Strengthening Communities Alliance calls for greater focus on place-based work

Strengthening Communities Alliance calls for greater focus on place-based work

An Alliance of community organisations, including Uniting NSW.ACT, has released a new paper calling on the Federal Government to scale up place-based, community-led initiatives across Australia.

The Strengthening Communities Alliance launched Strengthening Communities Position Paper on 4 May.

Place-based community-led initiatives are collaborative, long-term approaches to building thriving communities where many people and organisations work together towards a shared vision for their communityThe newly formed Strengthening Communities Alliance is a growing network of organisations that currently has eight members, committed to supporting this approach to creating positive social change.

The Alliance says that these initiatives lead to positive outcomes in communities where traditional service delivery models have failed despite massive financial investment in support services of around $64 billion per year across the country.

The paper reveals that postcodes often determine disadvantage, and a small number of communities experience complex, entrenched, persistent disadvantage.

It notes that increasingly, community members, groups, services and governments are working together to understand the drivers of disadvantage and create long-term change. However, many disadvantaged communities miss out, without the opportunity to do this type of work.

The Alliance’s paper shows what is preventing place-based community-led initiatives from expanding to more communities across Australia such as the way competitive funding processes discourage collaboration, and restrictions on access and sharing of data that would help communities make decisions about priorities and solutions.

The organisations note opportunities in the upcoming Federal Budget for greater Government focus on scaling up place-based community-led work.

It comes with the backdrop of recent Federal Government recognition of the value of this type of work through its Stronger Places, Stronger People initiatives and investment in the National Centre for Place-Based Collaboration (Nexus Centre).

Marion Bennett is Mission Australia’s Executive of Practice, Evidence and Impact.

“At Mission Australia, we see what so many communities, governments, service providers and Trusts and Foundations already know and witness the immense value of place-based work for the communities we serve,” Ms Bennett said.

“But place-based work isn’t yet where it should be in Australia.”

“To address the entrenched disadvantage that exists in some locations, we’re calling for a systemic response to scaling place-based community-led work across Australia. With coordinated national leadership in the development of supporting infrastructure, local communities can unlock opportunities to work towards positive change and create a new vision for their community.”

Members of the Strengthening Communities Alliance include Uniting NSW.ACT, BaptistCare HopeStreet, Brotherhood of St Laurence, Jesuit Social Services, Key Assets Australia, Mission Australia, The Smith Family, and United Way Australia.


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