Media Release: Excluding community groups from flood relief makes no sense

Community organisations are critical in rebuilding flood ravaged regions of Australia, yet, programs put in place to support recovery often exclude not-for profit organisations from receiving assistance.

David Crosbie, CEO of the Community Council for Australia said today he had been very disappointed to receive representations from a number of community organisations in places like Ipswich and Toowoomba that could not understand why they were ineligible to receive recovery grants that were available to small businesses and primary producers.

‘Who decided that not-for profit organisations are less deserving of support for rebuilding and recovery within flood ravaged communities than businesses and primary producers?’ he asked.

‘We know from experience in the Victorian bushfire regions and other emergencies around Australia that rebuilding businesses is only one part of the recovery process.  There are hundreds of not-for profit organisations that are at the heart of community life, both economically and socially.  You cannot overstate the important roles played by our sports clubs; welfare organisations; art and cultural groups; recreation, education and employment groups; environment and animal welfare groups; housing organisations; support groups for carers and people who suffer all kinds of health and other problems, the list goes on,’ he said

Mr Crosbie pointed out that even if the immediate priority is re-establishing economic activity, not-for profit organisations contribute over $43 billion to Australia’s economy – significantly more than the agriculture, communications, or tourism sectors contribute.

‘Perhaps this exclusion reflects the level to which some governments and policy makers take for granted the organisations that are actually at the very heart of our communities,’ he said.

Mr Crosbie has raised his concerns with policy makers within the Federal government and he understood they were now actively reviewing the situation.