CCA News - Summer 2020
Dear CCA Members and Friends
After months of bushfire devastation and trauma that this week’s ANUpoll found affected 75% of Australians and informed the growing community concern about the impact of climate change on our future and our way of life, it was a little frustrating that the return of Parliament saw little in the way of policy or vision from our leaders. The same poll (the largest conducted since the bushfires) found confidence in the Federal Government plummeted to 27%. This is a concern for all sides of politics, and all Australians. We need trust and confidence in our Government for it to function and serve us well.
Some will despair, but for me these unprecedented times mean it has never been more important for us to celebrate that so many Australians have the opportunity to be part of a charity, part of making a difference, part of the solutions.
Yet, as I wrote in Pro Bono News, just as business as usual is not going to be enough for governments, neither will it be for charities. Times will get tough and if we hope to grow in strength and effectiveness we will need to support collective action for change, and we will need to engage in a collective way as a sector.
This year we already know of two really significant dates for collective action that more of us need to plan around and become involved in. The first is the UN International Day of Charity on 5 September 2020. The second is Giving Tuesday on 1 December.
Charities, values-led and purpose-driven, give all Australians a way to become involved in supporting our communities and building the kind of forward-looking Australia we want to live in. The more we talk about these efforts and how they are harvesting hope, the stronger our communities will be and the more our sector will be valued.
Protecting advocacy remains high on CCA’s policy agenda this year, and I encourage you to join the ACPNS webinar next week, sharing learnings from the Canadian experience. It has taken years for their sector to restore capacity to engage in policy advocacy after the Harper Government funded the regulator to undertake advocacy audits to effect a crackdown on, well, mostly noisy Canadians.
We have a positive relationship with our charities Minister, Senator Zed Seselja, and look forward to continuing to work with him and to support his role as champion for our sector within Government. He has promised the Government’s response to the ACNC Review is coming soon.
The giving response to the bushfire disaster has highlighted two burning issues for our sector. Firstly, the need to #fixfundraising, and the common-sense role both the ACNC and ACCC have in the solution that is at hand. Secondly, the need to talk to the value that the organisational capacity (the ‘admin cost’) of charities brings in achieving meaningful impact.
As CCA continues to respond to policy challenges and opportunities as they emerge, Chair Tim Costello, Susan Pascoe and I are looking forward to working with you on a positive agenda for our sector. Coming to your inbox soon will be an invitation to join our CEO roundtables to advance much needed forward planning for our sector and a major campaign to see the work and the role of Australian charities valued. Thank you to the Perpetual Foundation and Life Without Barriers for investing in this work.
In our darkest times, step forth the brightest stars. Thanks as always for your support.
CEO Community Council for Australia
CCA Policy and Advocacy
Safe Climate Declaration
CCA is a signatory to the Safe Climate Declaration as is our Chair Tim Costello. The declaration is about adopting a non-political science led response to climate change. We encourage all charities and as many people as possible to sign on in support of this initiative – you can read the declaration and sign on here: https://www.climateemergencysummit.org/declaration/
CCA Budget Submission
CCA’s Pre-Budget Submission to the 2020-21 Federal Budget outlines nine measures to strengthen the NFP sector and deliver real economic and social benefits for governments and our communities.
- Provide Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status to all registered charities (with an initial exemption of organisations for the advancement of religion, childcare, primary and secondary education);
- Introduce a targeted ‘estate duty’ for people with estates valued at over $10 million (with appropriate incentives for donations to charities, safeguards relating to family businesses and farms; and mitigation of any potential adverse impacts);
- Implement the French 90/10 rule providing an option for all Australian employees to invest 5-10% of their superannuation into a not-for-profit social enterprise that benefits the community;
- Fix fundraising regulations so that they are fit for purpose in the 21st Century;
- Boost sector investment and productivity by increasing certainty in government funding, concessions, incentives and regulations;
- Develop and impose an additional ‘capacity levy’ on all Commonwealth funding of NFPs set at a minimum of 3% to support sector capacity development (through staff training and development, research and evaluation, and technical infrastructure improvements);
- Increase philanthropy by enabling employers to establish more effective ‘opt out’ systems of workplace giving;
- Work with the CCA and key stakeholders to promote uptake and investment in the future blueprint for the sector currently being developed by CCA and other partners;
- Review the generous tax concessions provided to gaming, catering, entertainment and hospitality income for mutual organisations, especially licensed clubs.
CCA’s full submission: https://www.communitycouncil.com.au/sites/default/files/CCA%20Pre-budget%20Submission%202020%20final.pdf
The reminder about NSW fundraising regulation (picked up by the Northern Daily ) from the NSW Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation and Member for Tamworth at the height of the bushfire disaster really just pointed to how unfit for purpose our current fundraising regulations are. Celeste Barber’s facebook fundraiser for the NSW RFS was racing like wildfire to $50m in domestic and international donations; scammers were making hay; and GoFund me campaigns popped like popcorn.
The regulators that were making a difference, were the ACNC and the ACCC.
ACNC Commissioner, Dr Gary Johns spoke in the media, encouraging donors to donate via a registered charity. (See Sky News). And the ACCC was on the frontfoot with Scamwatch.
The response from the ACNC and the ACCC showed that we have the foundations to make fundraising regulation fit for purpose in the 21st Century. All we need is relatively minor amendments to Australian Consumer Law and the political will at state, territory and federal level to make it happen. CCA, Justice Connect and the #fixfundraising coalition continue our advocacy.
More on fixing fundraising here: https://www.nfplaw.org.au/fundraisingreform
Speed, Transparency and Capacity
CCA spoke up as politicians and commentators criticised the speed of relief and the use of funds by the Red Cross and other charities on the frontline of the bushfire disaster response.
Chair Tim Costello, told the Australian that the vitriol from at least three NSW government ministers was surreal and that the pile-on reflected the level of profound shock and unpreparedness Australians were feeling over the unprecedented scale of the bushfire disaster.
David spoke to charities role and value in disaster response and told 7 News that governments turn to charities in these crises because they know they haven’t got the systems in place themselves to do what the charities know how to do.
It was good to see the ACNC fulfilling one of its core objects - to build trust and confidence in the sector. ACNC Commissioner, Dr Gary Johns spoke with ABC News and wrote an opinion piece published in The Australian and available on the ACNC website, Generosity will not be betrayed.
Interim Report of the Social Impact Investing Taskforce, gives a very good summary of where we are with impact investing and what needs to happen next. Good to see that the report picks up many of the issues highlighted in CCA’s series of CEO forums on Impact Investing.
Vested interests, money, and the democratic deficit, Griffith Review, a contribution worth reading co-authored by the Grattan Institute’s Kate Griffiths and Danielle Wood.
The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer finds a growing sense of inequity is eroding trust.
Community Colleges of Australia Statement on Sustainability and Climate Change, good to see community leadership stepping up the role of education to improve our citizenry's understanding of how economic, social and political systems are all interrelated with the environment.
Predictions for 2020: Charities, ACNC Commissioner Gary Johns tells Pro Bono News charities can expect transparency, fundraising regulation, wealth transfers and innovation to come under the spotlight as we move into the 2020s.
Closing the Gap, Parliamentary Library analysis from the Parliamentary Briefing Book. Most of the Closing the Gap targets have not been met. A concise analysis of what happened and how we can improve policy development and policy implementation.
Predictions for 2020: Philanthropy, Pro Bono News, 5 February. Sarah Davies, CEO of Philanthropy Australia on issues, opportunity and the $2.4 trillion wealth transfer that is just over the horizon.
Good grief! Pro Bono News, 23 January, CCA CEO David Crosbie writes that with recent events shaking our faith in the way we live our lives, charities across Australia must rise to the challenge of rebuilding our communities and use what has happened to fuel our determination not to accept the unacceptable.
Bushfire donations near $500 million as watchdogs put charities on notice, The Age, 19 January.
Some thoughts on the bushfire crisis, charity and giving and Australians going above and beyond normal giving during bushfire crisis, Pro Bono News, share reflections from Krystian Seibert on the outpouring of generosity in response to the bushfires, and FIA survey results that showed giving at time of crisis is good for giving attitudes in general.
New fund paves the way for impact investment in the charity sector, Pro Bono News, 17 January. Save the Children hopes the launch of its new $10m impact investment fund will pave the way for other charities.
Human Rights Watch’s annual report (Australian chapter) raises concerns on our freedom of the press, repeal of the medevac laws, offshore processing of refugees, controversial new encryption laws and the over-representation of Indigenous Australians in the criminal justice.
Our work is made possible by our members. If you are not already a member and would like to support a strong, independent voice that can speak up on issues that affect the future of our sector, please contact Deb on 02 6198 3435, Deborahs@communitycouncil.com.au
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