Next week the Federal Budget for 2020 is released. Historically it would have happened on the 2nd Tuesday in May, but given the COVID-19 inspired lockdowns at the time, and turbulent markets, the Federal Government Budget was postponed to October.
Charities and NFPs across Australia were invited back in August to put in submissions for what they want to keep serving the community. The Charities Crisis Cabinet headed by Rev Tim Costello AO & Ms Susan Pascoe AM and includes representation of charity leaders in sectors including; social welfare, children’s services, research, philanthropy, impact investing, digital services, environment, legal and governance, the arts, emergency services, news and media, volunteers and religious charities.
The group has asked for 10 key things, which is on top of any individual submission by a charity or group. Each measure is expected to deliver real benefits to government over the longer-term and strengthen communities. The wish list includes;
1. Provide a ramp rather than a cliff as JobKeeper ends.
2. Encourage more giving by providing increased tax deductibility for donations to charities.
3. Make it feasible for charities to establish fundraising initiatives quickly and efficiently by removing dysfunctional red tape fundraising regulations and creating a national registration process through existing regulators the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
4. Subject to strong performance, ensure greater certainty in government contracts by locking in existing payments and extending contracts wherever possible.
5. Allow greater flexibility in government funding to charities and not-for-profits to respond to the emerging needs in their communities.
6. Invest in a onestop shop registration process to enable volunteers to be registered and insured more quickly without the red tape of multi-jurisdictional compliance.
7. Support initiatives to unlock new sources of capital for charities including underwriting medium-term loans schemes and impact investment options that will enable charities to smooth out inconsistent income streams and invest in their future.
8. Provide transformational funding to charities in critical areas such as information technology, energy efficiency, collaboration, measurement of impact, research, staff development and other productivity focused areas.
9. Provide targeted funding and support for those struggling to fully participate in our communities and our economy, including ensuring people receiving JobSeeker are not locked into poverty.
10. Increase philanthropy by enabling employers to establish more effective ‘opt out’ systems of workplace giving.
It is not only a particularly challenging time for all governments in Australia and around the world dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is even more so for charities across Australia.
With COVID-19 has having a major impact across the majority of Australian charities, it’s vital that Government continue to invest in our community. Recovery will not be easy or quick, especially as many charities will face increased demand for their services, and these measures are likely to assist in streamlining aspects, and improve outcomes for most groups.