It’s 10.30am on a Monday, and myself and a group of seven corporates involved in funding a drought support campaign are assembling for a photo. The collaboration has raised $100,000.00 to assist two organisations in the Upper Hunter’s farming community.
The money will be used to provide a counselling service and business education for farmers’ partners to bring in a secondary income.
A pretty big deal I would like to assume for a rural community, and this funding came from a diverse group of organisations (some are competitors), and they came together for a common cause to create long-term impact.
The photographer rushed us along with: “I have to get this shot as all the pollies are in town and I need to get there”. “They should be here,” I blurted out (we had invited over 50 of them from the community and neighbouring ones, and only two showed up).
The photographer didn’t miss a beat: “You don’t want them here, they’d turn it into a circus about themselves”. I was surprised by his response. It shocked me.
We rely so much on politicians and their parties to ensure that government funding is allocated appropriately to support our community. However, around this time of year, funding stops or people are quickly spending their money on things they don’t need because they have a surplus to get rid of in order to get new funding. I also see not-for-profits receive excessive amounts of pressure to provide information so a party can gain an advantage.
We can’t live without politics, but we get thrown from pillar to post based on who’s in and who’s not. So much money is wasted when one party introduces a particular way of doing things, they then get thrown out, and the new party stops that funding.
Politicians are asking organisations to down tools to give them focus and research so they can wave a banner of support, and the organisations do in the hope that they’ll see the money if that person/party is elected.
However, the terms are only four years, and long-term impact and generational transformation doesn’t happen in that time especially in areas of homelessness, mental health and domestic violence.
Something needs to change. We have to change our thinking, the way we function and work together to create funding that doesn’t leave town when the circus does. That’s good politics.