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Government unveils stimulus support for charities


23 March 2020 at 5:36 pm
Luke Michael
But sector advocates say more help for the sector is desperately needed


Luke Michael | 23 March 2020 at 5:36 pm


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Government unveils stimulus support for charities
23 March 2020 at 5:36 pm

But sector advocates say more help for the sector is desperately needed

Around 30,000 not for profits will be given a tax-free payment of up to $100,000 to help them keep staff and continue operating throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Morrison government’s latest $66 billion economic stimulus package includes support for thousands of NFPs that employ people and have a turnover of up to $50 million a year, with a minimum payment of $20,000.

It comes after the sector was excluded from the first round of stimulus measures announced more than a week ago. 

Community Council for Australia (CCA) CEO David Crosbie told Pro Bono News he was delighted by the announcement, but admitted charities were still in the fight of their lives to stay afloat.

“The measures will not save all charities, and are not all we might have asked for, but they will help some charities hold on to staff and survive a little longer,” Crosbie said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has already had a devastating impact on the sector, with many organisations facing funding cuts, job losses and fundraising shortages in coming months.

CCA is calling for governments to guarantee there will be no funding cuts for the next 12 months, and said government-funded charities must be released from their narrow contractual obligations if they are unable to deliver services.

The Australian Council of Social Service also welcomed the support for the sector but said greater relief was needed.

CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said a community sector rescue package should be delivered, which includes a continuity of service fund with guaranteed paid special leave for all workers.

“Community services are trying to respond to extraordinary community needs, with people in dire distress, many worried about needing to be isolated, very vulnerable, and in need,” Goldie said.

“With an 80 per cent female workforce, community services will continue to be caring for so many in the community, and caring is what is needed. Government needs to provide the right supports.”

Philanthropy Australia CEO Sarah Davies said the inclusion of charities in the stimulus package was a positive step forward and would help NFPs feeling the economic impact of both COVID-19 and the recent bushfire crisis.

She said the announcement recognised the fundamental role that charities play in supporting Australian communities, not just during times of crisis, but every day.

“The provision of economic support for charities will allow the sector to continue to support the most vulnerable members of our community during these unprecedented times,” Davies said.

“With more than a million employees working across the charitable sector in Australia, these measures will also provide much needed employment and income support for workers and their families.” 


Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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5 comments

  • Avatar DK says:

    Does anyone know how to actually apply for this grant? there is a lot of info about it but no info about where to apply?
    Our charity is in a good position to employ new staff using the announced stimuls funding and they will immediately be put to real work helping with the disaster. I dont want the money ourself, we want to employ people. Immediately

    Our bookkeeper has said that the grants arent actually grants and they dont actually employ people, they are just a credit against previous tax that we have already paid so I am confused how they are saying they are making a cash payment.

    • Avatar Peter Wright says:

      Your bookkeeper is correct. You will receive a credit for the PAYG withheld from the staff wages. ie. you do not have to pay the ATO for tax withheld on wages paid. This is designedto boost your cash flow.

  • Avatar sheelagh elder says:

    Are op shops purely run by unpaid volunteers entitled to a stimulus payment?

    • Avatar Diane J Bruniges says:

      I would like to know if our food relief that is run by volunteers receive any funding. Our op shop and preloved furniture shop has shut due to clovid 19 and thats whats funds us and pays our bills and rent.

  • Avatar Meryl Papantoniou says:

    Yes its a little confusing…I manage a Op Shop and Community Services Food Relief Center and the shop has closed but I have managed to open still once a week to keep food to people in need (although that food I have to source from elsewhere) I was under the impression that a grant $$ would stock up our pantry so I can continue giving food out once a week during this time.

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