‘Innovative’ centre to tackle disadvantage

Phoebe Loomes |

The federal government hopes to tackle entrenched disadvantage with “innovative” new community-led ideas, as it establishes a national centre to tackle complex social issues.

Some $2.5 million has been allocated to begin foundational work on a National Centre for Place-Based Collaboration, with a group including the University of Queensland, the Australia and New Zealand School of Government and not-for-profit Collaboration For Impact starting consultations early next year.

Place-based initiatives have proven to be effective when working with entrenched disadvantage, or for people with complex social needs, because the solutions are designed with, and led by local communities.

The centre will work with more than 130 communities around the country, and build on the knowledge informing the Closing the Gap priorities.

It is expected the national centre will be operating by early 2025.

“We need to look at addressing complex social problems and entrenched disadvantage in new and innovative ways,” Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said.

“What we’ve been doing to date hasn’t always worked.”

Creating more place-based solutions would help communities by facilitating shared decision making, working across different levels of government, and empowering local groups to find the best help that suited their needs.

“I’m excited about the possibilities of a national centre to solving some of the challenges communities experience,” Ms Rishworth said.

The centre will also look to consolidate and expand effective programs already in place, by sharing expertise and leadership approaches in communities, facilitating holistic approaches to complex problems and attracting philanthropic investment into community leaders.

The creation of the centre follows on the government’s formation of an Economic Inclusion Advisory Panel last month.

The panel brought together members of government, experts from the social services sector and other relevant parties to advise the government on how to tackle economic disadvantage ahead of each federal budget.