Queensland’s community sector works to improve the quality of life of people accessing their services, as well as the wider community. As per the Queensland Government’s Partnering for the future Advancing Queensland’s community services industry 2017-25 report, the community services industry ‘holds crucial keys to unlocking the state’s full potential for growth and prosperity.’
The community sector contributes significantly to the Queensland economy, with a total revenue over $20 billion and employing approximately 173,706 people in 2018. Further to the economic contribution is the significant social contribution of the Queensland community sector. This is especially apparent during times of crisis, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in large increases in unemployment and growing demand on community organisations. Therefore, identifying emerging issues that may impact on the operational efficiency and effectiveness of community organisations is important.
This report examines the wellbeing of Queensland’s community sector, as well as Queensland communities. The report aims to:
- identify issues emerging amongst Queensland community organisations that may impact their ability to provide efficient and effective services to their communities and
- identify trends in Queensland communities that may impact the community sector.
Information contained in this report is based on the results of a QCOSS survey aimed at the Queensland community sector, a series of interviews with leaders and front-line workers employed in Queensland community organisations, as well as publicly available population data sets.
Data collected identifies a number of issues impacting the efficiency and effectiveness of community organisations. This includes issues that enable, or prevent, services to be responsive, such as length of contracts and funding flexibility. Further to this, workforce was a considerable issue, with organisations identifying challenges to recruit and retain appropriately qualified staff. This was a particular issue when seeking resources and staffing to sufficiently analyse data to promote service improvements and demonstrate client outcomes.
During COVID-19, community organisations have experienced increasing pressure. This has been due to an increase in overall demand on services, as well as an increase in the complexity of issues being experienced by consumers. The primary issues impacting the service user include a lack of appropriate housing, an increase in domestic and family violence and significant pressure on financial wellbeing.