Concerns raised over HIV/AIDS funding
The National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA) has expressed concern over the future of its funding arrangement with the Australian Government.
A number of non-government organisations (NGOs) have been offered a six-month extension on current funding arrangements while the new government revisits the way organisations are funded.
Jo Watson, executive director NAPWHA, told MCV the government was not in a position to offer details on the new full funding agreement process, which has led to the uncertainty.
“I think in the current funding environment for government, there is a whole lot of uncertainty not just in health, but a whole lot of portfolios,” Watson said.
“We know a number of NGOs that have been given extensions, but will have to go through a tender process as well.”
However, waiting for the details of the new funding process is not the only uncertainty held by NAPWHA.
“I guess the other uncertainty is we’re going into a period of a new set of allocation of agreements that are going to be decided, so there is no way of being sure – for any organisation – of just how the allocations will come out,” Watson said.
NAPWHA acknowledged that depending on funding criteria, a changing environment for national peak bodies may be necessary.
“The challenge will be whether or not the government has the view that it wants the national peaks to have more collaboration arrangements, and that has been the trend across some of the jurisdictions, so that’s a possibility.
“The bottom line is until we see the funding criteria we’re not going to know what the government wants us to focus on.”
Although there are months of uncertainty ahead, NAPWHA remains confident of its place in the Australian landscape.
“We are a very strong and professional organisation and we can show value in our work, but it’s going to be unsettling until we get the confirmed funding agreement for its full term in place.”
The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) is still waiting for its six-month extension to be approved, however it says it has “taken the government's decision to offer an extension of funding in good faith”.
AFAO also told MCV it does not believe collaboration between organisations would be necessary.
The Department of Health had not responded to questions from MCV at the time of publication.