Prime Minister Addresses 'Social Coalition'
3 September 2001 at 1:09 pm
Prime Minister, John Howard has praised what he describes as a growing ’social coalition’ – an approach to tackling some of Australia’s challenges with a partnership between those who work at the coalface such as welfare organisations and individual philanthropists, with government and the business community.
The Prime Minister’s comment came at the Awards for Excellence in Community Business Partnerships in 2001, before an audience of 650 people in the Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra.
The PM told the Award night audience that he had been asked in an earlier interview what kind of Australian society he wanted in just one sentence. His response was a society that was prosperous, generous to its vulnerable and encouraged people to aspire and achieve.
He added that his idea of a ‘social coalition’ is part of the cohesion and part of the generosity to the vulnerable. He said we need a society that encourages people to leave welfare dependency and re-enter the work force. We need different ways of encouraging people to do that. We need role models in individuals, in organisations and in the business community.
He said the Community Business Partnerships Awards are about recognising excellence in those areas and he was not asking businesses to give more but more businesses to give in future.
New tax incentive to encourage philanthropy
The Prime Minister also used the Awards night as an opportunity to announce a new income tax initiative to encourage philanthropy.
The Federal Government is to amend the income tax law to allow income tax deductions to land holders who enter into perpetual conservation covenants with organisations that are deductible gift recipients.
The measure was recommended by the Partnerships taxation working group.
The Prime Minister said the measure would provide an incentive for land holders and environmental philanthropic organisations to enter into conveyance to conserve land in perpetuity and therefore maintain its environmental value for all Australians.
Changing Role of “ Partnerships”
The Prime Minister made only a brief reference to the change in direction of the Community Business Partnerships expanding from highlighting and assisting with strategic alliances into a new job opportunity field.
Howard said a key role of the partnership would be to increase opportunities for people with disabilities, mature aged people, indigenous people and parents returning to work.
The change in direction is expected to see the focus on rural Australia.
The Head of the PM’s Community Business Partnership, Geraldine Skinner says she sees the move as an evolution rather than a change in direction.
She says it fits into the social component of the triple-bottom-line, which sees business being encouraged to generate employment opportunities.
She says while the move still needs some flesh and bone attached to it, it’s an obvious broadening of the collaboration between community and business.