Unis invested in ideas for the ask

The government wants us to double what we donate to worthy causes by 2030 and asked the Productivity Commission to work on ways government can encourage, or at least get out of the way, of giving.

Commission hearings are on this week, but the HE and research lobbies are already explaining how and why they should be helped to ask for more.

Mendicants in chief at all Group of Eight members focus on residents of the big end of town. Their submission proposes adapting the Research and Development tax credit to assist philanthropy by extending the deduction for gifts for research beyond the present five years.  They suggest that abolishing tax penalties in bequeathing superannuation held in deceased estates “could unlock tens of billions toward philanthropic giving.”

The Group of Eight extends the idea, by suggesting that government “enhancing” funding for competitive research can attract private contributions.

However, the Australian Technology Network pointed out that when it comes to research and education the charitable pie is not evenly sliced, that in 2018 73 per cent of support went to five universities. In an idea as optimistic as it is unlikely the ATN suggested “government communication initiatives” could demonstrate to donors where quality research is occurring in given field so they know their money is going to the right place.

And Research Australia (whose members are less all-encompassing, than the name suggests, being medical) has a big idea – basically privatising public fund raising. It suggests government could fund successful charities to deliver/administer programmes jointly funded by government and the charity.

But it was left to Universities Australia  to demonstrate its usual admirable focus on member interests. Whatever the issue more money for HE is always an answer.  “Universities are uniquely placed to help. The university sector and the communities it serves can play a critical role in supporting the Government’s efforts to double philanthropic giving by 2030 by equipping people with the right skillset and educating them about the benefits of philanthropy.”



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