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Government announces “wide-ranging” review of charitable giving as it chases philanthropy target

13 February 2023 at 10:33 am
Danielle Kutchel
A Productivity Commission review on the culture of giving in Australia is the first step towards the government target of doubling philanthropy.

Danielle Kutchel | 13 February 2023 at 10:33 am


Government announces “wide-ranging” review of charitable giving as it chases philanthropy target
13 February 2023 at 10:33 am

A Productivity Commission review on the culture of giving in Australia is the first step towards the government target of doubling philanthropy.

The federal government will conduct a major review of Australian philanthropy as it moves towards fulfilling another election promise to double philanthropic giving by 2030.

Charities minister Dr Andrew Leigh said the review will be undertaken by the Productivity Commission, with the goal of boosting donations to charities.

Krystian Seibert, policy and regulation specialist at Philanthropy Australia and former industry fellow at the Centre for Social Impact, will be an associate commissioner of the review.

“Krystian’s got terrific experience through Philanthropy Australia, through work in government, [and] through his thoughtful engagement on the sector more broadly,” Leigh told Pro Bono News.

Seibert said he is looking forward to being part of “what will be a comprehensive and wide-ranging review”.

“The commission is ideally placed to undertake this task and will engage widely as it examines the drivers of philanthropic giving and what barriers need to be addressed in order to grow such giving further,” he said.

Good timing

Leigh told Pro Bono News the government had been “keen” to get the review going “as soon as possible”.

“It’s a big piece of work and it’s important for givers and receivers of donations alike,” he said.


As part of the review, the Productivity Commission will consult broadly, including with Commonwealth, state and territory governments, the philanthropic, not-for-profit and business sectors and the general public. 

The commission will hold public hearings, invite public submissions and release a draft report for public review.

Leigh said he hoped the broad coverage would help shift the culture of philanthropy in Australia.

“I also hope that we can look at that broader question of the culture of philanthropy, and try and see an Australia in which giving to charity becomes even more common than it is today. We know that greater public awareness is an important part of donations,” he said.

“We want to make sure that there’s a greater culture of giving. One way of empowering that is through a better culture of evidence around what works within philanthropy or within charities. We’d like to raise the evidence bar for many charities and not for profits so they’re showing effectively what they’re doing to change people’s lives and therefore attracting more donations.”

The review comes during a challenging time for the sector, thanks to the ongoing impacts of multiple crises and COVID-19.

Donations by individuals fell over the decade 2009-10 to 2019-20, according to Australian Tax Office data, and the number of people participating in workplace giving also slumped.

“It’s an ambitious target [to double philanthropy] and we need all shoulders to the wheel to get there,” Leigh said.

The review will provide a final report to the government in the first half of 2024, forming a roadmap to achieving the goal of doubling philanthropy by 2030.

Leigh wouldn’t commit to implementing all of the recommendations to come out of the review, but added “we wouldn’t be asking the Productivity Commission to do this work if we weren’t minded to make some changes”.

Philanthropy Australia welcomed the review.

In a statement, Philanthropy Australia CEO Jack Heath said this was a watershed moment towards creating a more generous and giving Australia.

“We were thrilled when the Government first committed to work with the philanthropic, not-for-profit and business sectors to double giving by 2030,” he said.

“This is a huge opportunity for our nation. Doubling giving would unleash tens of billions of dollars in additional support for Australians in need. It would help address our biggest societal challenges including climate change, declining educational outcomes and entrenched disadvantage. It would help secure a better future for First Nations peoples.

“The timing of this review couldn’t be better – it provides a unique opportunity to achieve a step-change lift in giving across the nation as we emerge from the ravages of COVID. People are yearning for a more inclusive and caring society and this review can map out how philanthropy can make its special contribution in a time of increasing inequality in wealth and incomes.”

Heath said Philanthropy Australia sees “key opportunities” for giving in extending DGR status, enabling bequests from superannuation, support community foundations to grow and undertaking a national giving campaign.

He added that giving is about more than financial support, and also encompasses volunteering time, skills and experience.

“We look forward to soliciting the views of our members on how philanthropy, business and the for-purpose sector can step-up to the exciting challenge presented by this review,” he said.

Heath also welcomed Seibert’s appointment to the review.

“Krystian has had a distinguished career devising philanthropy policy in government, in higher education and of course at Philanthropy Australia. He will be a source of deep expertise and innovative policy ideas for the review,” Heath said.

For more information, including terms of reference, visit the Productivity Commission’s website.

Danielle Kutchel  |  @ProBonoNews

Danielle is a journalist specialising in disability and CALD issues, and social justice reporting. Reach her on or on Twitter @D_Kutchel.

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