Two leading South Australian charities have identified excessive red tape and complex regulatory frameworks as key issues to be tackled in 2023.
The Norwood branch of Meals on Wheels SA and See Differently with the Royal Society for the Blind in Gilles Plains were visited by Senator Dean Smith, the Coalition spokesman for charities.
Both are in the electorate of James Stevens MP, Federal Member for Sturt, who was joined by Senator Andrew McLachlan CSC.
It was the first in a series of visits across Australia, aimed at better supporting Coalition Members’ interactions with their local charity and not-for-profit stakeholders.
Senator Smith said it was an encouraging start.
“We know that charities across Australia are working overtime to meet rapidly rising demand, largely due to the cost-of-living crisis and inadequate support from the Albanese Government,” Senator Smith said.
“Building on the outstanding work being done by local MPs like James Stevens, these visits remind charities that the Coalition is alert to the issues they are facing and ready to do all it can to back them in their vital work.
“It also provides an opportunity for charities to share their concerns and priorities as the New Year begins, and we couldn’t have hoped for more insightful and open feedback than that received from Meals on Wheels SA and See Differently.”
Mr Stevens said the two organisations were a tribute to the strong, well-established charities presence in the Sturt community.
“Meals on Wheels SA and See Differently are fantastic organisations that work so hard to provide invaluable services to our community. We are very lucky to have them in Sturt,” he said.
“These visits gave us an opportunity to hear from both senior staff and local volunteers within each organisation, allowing us to better support and represent them.”
Senator McLachlan echoed these comments.
“The work done by these charities right across South Australia, for the elderly, the lonely and those with vision impairments and PTSD is truly remarkable,” he said.
“Senator Smith’s visit highlights the Coalition’s strong priority of engaging the charity sector here in our State.”
Meals on Wheels SA operates 40 kitchens across South Australia, supplying 1.15 million meals in 2022 to those unable to prepare healthy food for themselves.
Among a wide range of services, See Differently with the Royal Society for the Blind features a manufacturing program and trains guide and assistance dogs.
In addition to increased demand, both charities said navigating administrative requirements and red tape was a growing concern.
“Both Meals on Wheels SA and See Differently focused on the time and financial burden regulatory frameworks are putting on them,” Senator Smith said.
“While some regulation is always necessary, charities already pushed to their limits should not be incurring unnecessary expense or difficulty to deliver their services – certainly not to the extent they might have to scale them back or volunteers are deterred from signing up.
“Addressing this will be a major priority for me in this New Year, as I know it will be for local advocates like Mr Stevens and Senator McLachlan.”