In July 2014, as CEO of Ruah, I was faced with reviewing 16 DSS Grant applications ready for submission. Like many other Australian community service organisations Ruah had been frantically working on them for 5 weeks.

As has been mentioned elsewhere there was expected to be tens of thousands of applications for these grants from all around Australia – I  was feeling like we’d be lucky to get any of our applications approved.

Ruah applied for $4.2m in those 16 applications, many small, some larger. We’ve spent about $50,000 of time putting them together.

Overall, I was feeling done over:

  • Why were so many grant applications put out at once?
  • Does the reform of the DSS Grant system have anything in it for the providers?
  • Where is the overall strategy for these grants?
  • Will the people reviewing them understand community services?
  • Where did the arbitrary $100,000 limit on many of the grants come from?
  • Is this the future of Australian Government procurement of community services?
  • Who’s tracking the money – have $ been lost in the transfer from the old grant system to the new one?

I felt like I was a monkey with a benevolent passerby throwing me peanuts.