By Julie Owens

18 May 2021

Last week was packed with Budget announcements from the Morrison Government.

The Prime Minister told us his Government had set Australia on the path to recovery and that new measures in the Budget would see this continue.

It’s true that measures like JobKeeper, and top up payments for people on unemployment benefits like JobSeeker – both of which Labor called for at the beginning of the pandemic – made a big difference during the darkest days of lockdown.

But credit must also go to our community sector, which did much of the heavy lifting, especially for groups like temporary visa holders and international students, who were completely left out of the Government’s response.

A 2020 ACOSS survey of community sector workers found 61% had seen increased demand for services after COVID restrictions were introduced in March of that year. More than half reported more people seeking help – rising to 86% for migrant and multicultural services.

At the same time, 36% reported that they were worse off financially due to falling donations and loss of other types of income.

Many of the local community organisations I talk to are run by a small number of committed volunteers, who often contribute both money and time to provide essential services to our community.

A small amount of money can make a huge difference to these organisations – funding things like technology upgrades, new equipment and fuel vouchers to help volunteers travel for important community work.

So one of the most important things I can do as the Federal Member for Parramatta is make sure our local community and volunteer organisations are well informed about grants and other funding opportunities.

There are lots of different sources of information out there – some more reliable than others – but searching for grants takes time that busy, often overstretched volunteer groups simply don’t have.

For the past 17 years I’ve been sending out a monthly grants bulletin to make it easier for locals to find the right grants – like the Powering Communities Program, which helps community organisations fund projects that can improve their energy efficiency practices and lower their energy bills.

You can subscribe to my Grants Bulletin and find more information about the Powering Communities Program for organisations in the Parramatta electorate by scanning the QR code above.

Of course, finding grants is just the first step. To get funding you need to know which grants to apply for, and how to write a successful application.

I’ll be hosting a grants forum on Monday 12 July to explain the ins and outs of the application process and how organisations can maximise their chances for success – click here to register now to attend in person or on Zoom.

If your organisation needs funding but you’re unsure how to get it, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with my office. Thank you for the work that you do to make our community stronger. I hope I can help you take it further.