What Australia needs
The sustainability and viability of community and social services is critical in addressing the entrenched, and often intergenerational, disadvantage facing many people in our society. UnitingCare Australia has long advocated for taxation and funding policy which maximises the capacity of the not-for-profit (NFP) community and social service providers to fulfil their role of delivering sustainable support and leveraging non-government sources of funding.
The envelope of essential tax arrangements for the NFP sector is a resource-efficient mechanism through which Government can contribute to improving not just the wellbeing of all people living in Australia but also the health of the nation by:
- Supporting philanthropic donations;
- Providing salary sacrificing arrangements to enable charities to compete with the private and public sector in order to attract and retain staff to deliver essential social services;
- Enabling Government to further their social objectives; and,
- Providing a mechanism by which the majority of taxpayers (even those who do not donate to charities) contribute to the most disadvantaged through taxation.
Why it matters
Tax and funding arrangements for NFP community and social service providers, as compared with for-profit and government providers, seek to recognise the value of the models of services delivered by these organisations. In considering any reform of these arrangements it is critical to understand that NFP providers are wholly different to for-profit organisations, public and government entities. NFP community and social services providers are defined by altruistic mission and purpose and are neither an arm of government, nor a subset of the business sector. They provide a critical infrastructure which contributes to the Australian economy.