Cube Group spurs public services to target the missing middle

17 March 2020 2 min. read

Cube Group, a consulting firm dedicated to the public sector, has reinforced the need for more early intervention services for women in an International Women’s Day event at Melbourne’s Immigration Museum. 

The event was a call to action aimed at government and community leaders to ensure vulnerable women don’t end up in the crisis end of public services. 

In her keynote, Laura Mahoney, a Partner at Cube Group, highlighted a major gap in public policy, funding and services known as the ‘missing middle’ which disproportionately affects women. “The missing middle covers a range of areas, but mental health, family violence, justice, homelessness and health present some of the largest gaps to vulnerable women.” 

On the back of financial insecurity brought on by the gender pay gap, increasing casualisation of the workforce and the disproportionate amount of part-time jobs, “more and more women are at risk of falling through the gaps,” Mahoney said.

Laura Mahoney, Bernadette McSherry, Becky Batagol“It is one of the primary reasons women are more at risk of homelessness, ongoing family violence and lack of access to the legal system. There’s very little support between prevention and crisis services.” 

Managing Partner at Cube Group, Ben Schramm said that a greater focus on early intervention is needed to reduce the burden on crisis responses such as emergency housing and acute health care. “For many Australian women, a personal or financial shock can quickly snowball into a state of disadvantage and emergency, and in too many cases people don’t know where to start, or who can help them. Those first steps can be overwhelming.”

“Victims of domestic violence often need emergency housing that takes them away from their communities and workplaces. For women in particular it can create social isolation and limit their ability to generate an income for months or even years,” Schramm said. 

“The earlier we reach out with connected services, the more we will strengthen health, wellbeing and connectedness. It starts with listening to the community and delivering services where they are and when they need them, rather than waiting until it’s too late,” Schramm concluded. 

The event was attended by a cohort of leaders and experts in the public services space, including Bernadette McSherry, the Foundation Director of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute and a Professor of Law at the University of Melbourne, and Becky Batagol, Associate Professor of Law at Monash University.