Catherine Delahunty
COGS grant scheme cut

One of the worst aspects of the “death by a thousand cuts” Budget is the cut to the Community Organisations Grants Scheme (COGS).

COGS is the mainstay of thousands of community organisations around the nation. The decision to make larger grants to a smaller number of organisations amounts to a cut for many others. It is easy to understand the rationale for increasing amounts to vital groups but that shouldn’t mean smaller groups get less. There is a bigger picture to consider.

Right now, innumerable groups are struggling because of the recession and extra pressure on their services and activities. The few big philanthropic funders have reduced their reach because they are also stretched. Some funders have closed down altogether, and some are targeting particular groups with three year large grants.

The sector has long called for increased funding and there year funding, but in this context, lotteries grants and COGS have a vital role to play as the core reliable funding for many smaller groups. COGS in particular has been the mainstay of the administration and some wages funding for groups of volunteers who may have just one paid coordinator. These groups – working in the areas of disability, health, mental health, children and family support – need small COGS grants to survive.

The accountability requirements for funding create huge pressures on these groups and take up a great deal of staff time. Unhealthy competition for scarce funds also bedevils the community and voluntary sector.

The Greens successfully bid for increases to COGS funding in 2008, and the last thing we want is a narrowing of the access to it.

Cutting access to COGS will be a disaster for many groups. In an era when foodbanks are running out of food and many families are stressed by unemployment or under employment, we are need the community sector to back up our most vulnerable people. Where will the groups get their core funding from now?

5 thoughts on “COGS grant scheme cut

  1. Thats really disappointing because COGS is one of the only easily accessible grant schemes I know of that will provide money for running costs, stuff like the phone and electricity bills. Most COGS recipients have funding under $3K per annum, but its an important source of revenue.

    I wonder who the favoured recipients of the redirected money will be…

    Timing is everything; COGS applications open 1st June, just a week way, and bonging away on my calendar…….

    This will, of course, put greater pressure on the other sources of community funding, and in particular, to pokie machine funding, which I seem to recall the Greens don’t approve of…

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  2. I think it is tied to Tariana’s personal four big community groups – which will be uncontested. IT will certainly affect us here.

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  3. An issue about funding is getting value for the dollar. If one accepts that the coffers are finite, then the issue becomes one of gettingthe bets value for that finite resource.

    What that means is that somebody has to make a choice between things like COGS or VictimSupport, COGS or a SpecialNeeds Teacher Aide, COGS or
    Rail.

    Of course some people simply say ‘tax more’ to increase the size of the coffers, but that arguement is for another thread.

    What every proponnt of COGS (or basket weaving course, et al) needs to be prepared to say is that their hobbyhorse is more important than VictimSupport, a SpecialNeeds Teacher Aide, or Rail. Can they/you?

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  4. I’m certainly not advocating higher taxes; we are overtaxed as we are.

    But the questions are not as simple as you suggest. If they were then government spending would be very simple, as firstly health would get all the money it needed, and then education would get all the money it needed, then welfare gets its chunk and then we’re out of money.

    All the choices you mentioned deliver benefits and value in different ways, and to different recipients. And more than that; people want to get something for their taxes. So taxes go on all sorts of other things rather than pure essentials.

    And whilst its fun to pit victim support against COGS, I’d rather choose something else less emotive, perhaps something like expensive and limited life new roads.

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