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Charity leaders unite to lead sector through COVID-19

1 April 2020 at 6:04 pm
Maggie Coggan
The newly formed Charities Crisis Cabinet has identified gaps in the current government support packages 

Maggie Coggan | 1 April 2020 at 6:04 pm


Charity leaders unite to lead sector through COVID-19
1 April 2020 at 6:04 pm

The newly formed Charities Crisis Cabinet has identified gaps in the current government support packages 

Some of the biggest players in the charities sector have met to discuss a plan of action for the coming months as the impacts of COVID-19 continue to wreak havoc in the sector. 

Meeting for the first time on Tuesday, members of the Charities Crisis Cabinet discussed the need to work well with the public service as it sought to translate policies into programs, the gaps emerging in the support available to vulnerable people, and the ongoing impact COVID-19 was having on many charities. 

Much of the discussion centered around “seven critical asks” for government to support charities, outlined by the Community Council for Australia in a letter delivered to the prime minister and treasurer last week. 

They include:  

  1. No government funding cuts to charities over the next 12 months. 
  2. Government funded charities to be released from their narrow contractual obligations so they can respond to the people they serve as needed.   
  3. Additional funding to meet additional service demand. 
  4. Wage subsidies and other bridging options to try and keep as many charity sector staff employed as possible.
  5. Tax incentives to encourage continued support of charities to encourage philanthropy and donations.  
  6. Providing support for adaptation in service delivery as many charities shift their services online and develop new online support systems for staff and volunteers.
  7. Supporting charities large and small by making all donations to charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission made in 2020 tax deductible.

The cabinet is co-chaired by Rev Tim Costello and Susan Pascoe and will draw on the broader charities sector to provide advice to governments, business, philanthropists and the community. 

Members include CEOs from the Australian Council Of Social Services, Philanthropy Australia, CCA, Volunteering Australia, Pro Bono Australia, the Smith Family, Save the Children, OzHarvest, Australian Major Performing Arts Group, Settlement Service International, and the World Wildlife Fund. 

David Crosbie, the CEO of CCA and cabinet secretary, told Pro Bono News it was a great opportunity to hear from so many different parts of the charities sector about how they were responding to COVID-19. 

“As a first meeting, it was quite productive and informative with some sub groups already agreeing to meet and work further on issues where there is strong common ground,” Crosbie said. 

Pascoe said that it was vital the sector united in this difficult time. 

“I hope that by coming together with leaders from across the charities sector, sharing our knowledge and experiences, we will be able to develop strategies to help more charities continue serving their communities,” Pascoe said. 

The second meeting will take place within the next 10 days.

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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