UnitingCare Australia has today welcomed the announcement by acting Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, that the Federal Government will remove gag clauses placed on non-government organisations that have prevented agencies from speaking out in the interests of vulnerable Australians.
The Federal government has annouced that it will review all existing agreements with social service providers to remove the gag and restore freedom of speech.
Ms Gillard said the Howard government had effectively moved to close down debate..
“We believe robust debate is the best way of making sure the right things get done, and everybody’s voice is heard."
UnitingCare Australia Associate Director Lyn Larkin said a strong and articulate community services sector is crucial for the delivery of quality services and to ensure the best quality of life outcomes for disadvantaged Australians and those people and organisations delivering services on the ground are in the best position to comment on what works and what doesn’t for Australians struggling to live with dignity in the face of poverty and exclusion.
“Today’s commitment is a significant and welcome step towards developing a responsive and progressive social inclusion agenda,” Ms Larkin said.
“UnitingCare Australia congratulates the Federal Government on committing to an enabling relationship with the community sector, in which our voice and experience is respected.”
Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) President Lin Hatfield Dodds said, “This initiative will encourage constructive and open debate which will ultimately lead to better policy solutions for the more than 1 in 10 Australians missing out on a fair go.”
Photo : Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) President Lin Hatfield Dodds