A strong sector response to the Charity Blueprint Issues Paper could help secure reforms for more and better giving, says Philanthropy Australia’s Executive Director, Policy, Government Relations and Reform, Sam Rosevear.
The Albanese Labor Government came to power with two significant election commitments in the philanthropy and charity portfolio.
- Philanthropy Australia and Philanthropy Australia members have been highly engaged in the work to Develop a Strategy to Double Giving to Charity by 2030. (Stay tuned for the release of the Productivity Commission’s draft report at the end of this month!)
- The other significant election commitment was to develop a Blueprint for the Not-for-Profit Sector. A Not-for-Profit Sector Development Blueprint Issues Paper has recently been released, with an invitation to provide submissions by 20 December.
It would be great to see a strong sector response to the Blueprint process, which is a rare and powerful opportunity to influence the government to adopt major reforms to create a more generous and giving Australia. The final report of the Blueprint will be released at around the same time as the PC report on double giving, which is scheduled for May 2024, so both documents will influence the reforms the government chooses to adopt. Having a reform recommended in one of these reports will ensure the government considers its adoption. Having the reform recommended in both reports could boost the chances of adoption further still. This is why Philanthropy Australia is engaging closely with the Charity Blueprint process, as well as with the Double Giving process. And it’s why we encourage you to make a submission, if you are in a position to do so.
Ideas you can advocate for
The scope of the Blueprint is broad, so there are few limitations on the ideas you can advocate for.
Chapter 5 is all about philanthropy and volunteering and explicitly asks about policy and regulatory reforms that could increase giving. Philanthropy Australia’s submission will highlight the key reforms we recommended to the PC, including: super bequests; DGR for all charities; the choice to donate in the tax return process; strengthening and expanding our network of community foundations, running a National Giving Campaign, reforms to strengthen the charity sector, and governance reforms to facilitate stronger engagement between the sector and ministers to drive social impact. Some key source documents include:
- PA’s Main Submission to the PC.
- Our work with Community Foundations Australia, supported by Social Ventures Australia, The Opportunity to Grow Australia’s Community Foundation Network: A Strategic Roadmap.
- Another submission specifically on a National Giving Campaign, Philanthropy Australia Supplementary Submission: Is there a role for Government in supporting a National Giving Campaign?
- The Impact Economics and Policy report, commissioned by Philanthropy Australia, Making Giving Easy: Charitable Superannuation Bequests. The key findings in the modelling were:
- Over the period to 2060, the reform could generate between $64.6 and $260.3 billion in additional income for charities.
- Australians donated $13.4 billion to charity in 2021. The new modelling indicates that in the year 2060 alone, the reforms would yield between $4.8 and $21.9 billion for charity.
The Blueprint Issues Paper also seeks input on a suite of additional issues of importance to many across the charity and philanthropic sectors, such as:
- The overall vision and themes for action for the sector over the next decade.
- The importance of advocacy by charities, and how the right to freely advocate can be protected through policy and legislation. Prior to the election, Dr Andrew Leigh, now Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury indicated Labor was looking at options around a Not-For-Profit Freedom to Advocate Act.
- Principles for service design, the importance of co-design and how to measure outcomes.
- Appropriate regulation, while avoiding unnecessary red tape, including through national approaches in areas such as fundraising.
- Building capacity through leadership, staff development and attractive career structures.
- Funding the full costs of service delivery, with appropriate contract lengths.
So, if you are in the business of advocacy, now is the time to seize the day. Working together, we might just help make Australia one of the most generous and giving nations on earth.