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Philanthropy Australia’s COVID-19 Government Policy Recommendations

May 05th, 2020

Like many elements of our economy, Australia’s not-for-profit sector has been hit hard by COVID-19. With thousands of job losses in a sector that contributes more than 8% of Australia’s GDP these losses are impacting on the critical work that charities are delivering in the community.

The requirement for more and better philanthropy has never been more profound, especially after the recent catastrophic bushfires. Philanthropy has a critical role to play in helping to address the challenges of COVID-19 and supporting charities and our communities to build back better in recovery. 

Although giving will be hit by the economic impacts of COVID-19, estimated to fall 20% over this and next financial year according to JBWere analysis, Australian philanthropy is determined to step up and respond to this unparalleled challenge. 

To strengthen the role that philanthropy can play to tackle COVID-19 Philanthropy Australia has released five policy recommendations for the Federal Government:  

  • No changes to the regulatory minimum distribution requirements for ancillary funds and the provision of credits for funds who ‘over distribute’ by at least 4% over the next two financial years, with these credits able to be used to reduce minimum distributions in subsequent financial years 
     
  • Provide a 150% tax deduction for any donations to Item 1 DGR charities during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years 
     
  • Work with philanthropy to establish an NFP Loans Fund to support viable charities to both get through COVID-19 and to rebuild back better in recovery by supporting the establishment of innovative service delivery models and new income streams
     
  • Work with philanthropy to launch a matched giving Item 1 DGR flow through Grants Pool to provide discretionary grants to support charities overhead costs to keep them afloat and deliver their work during the crisis 
     
  • Decrease to 15% the eligibility threshold for charities to access the JobKeeper payment  

Philanthropy Australia appreciates the ongoing collaborative dialogue we are having with the Assistant Minister for Charities and the Australian Government. 

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