As it disbands, CCA CEO David Crosbie pays tribute to the achievements of the Charities Crisis Cabinet, which was conceived and convened at the start of the pandemic.
Epitaph for the Charities Crisis Cabinet, Pro Bono News, 8 September 2022.
In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity. ~Albert Einstein When the pandemic hit most of us struggled to make sense of what was happening. First came the sudden withdrawal of community contact and the cancellation of many face-to-face events; and then the forced lockdowns, border closures and travel bans. In the last week of March 2020, the Charities Crisis Cabinet issued its first media release: “Cabinet co-chair Rev Tim Costello said today, ‘Many charities are facing a battle to survive. Fundraising activity is grinding to a halt. Activities that involve bringing people together have ceased. Volunteers and staff are much less available. Opportunity shops, churches, group training, fundraising events and socially based community activities are all shut down. Many charity workers have lost their jobs. As many as 300,000 could find themselves unemployed. These are tough times, but if we want Australia to have a vibrant future we need as many charities as possible to survive.’ “Cabinet co-chair Susan Pascoe said, ‘I look forward to co-chairing this cabinet. 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.’” The cabinet had already endorsed a letter to the Prime Minister asking for consideration of seven initiatives:
- Offer more security to maintain programs and employment: Governments guarantee not to cut funding to charities over the next 12 months.
- Enable flexibility for charities to respond: Charities can vary contract terms to be more responsive to need and new delivery requirements.
- Provide additional funding to meet additional demand: in areas like food, shelter, domestic violence, mental health etc.
- Offer wage subsidies and other bridging options: Trying to keep as many staff employed in the charities sector as possible through the crisis.
- Offer tax incentives to encourage continued support of charities: Governments could encourage philanthropy by increasing the tax deduction for donations to registered charities.
- Provide support for adaptation in service delivery: support registered charities as they adapt their services to the new distancing requirements including shifting their services online and working from home.
- Extend support to all charities, big and small: All donations to legitimate charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission made in 2020 should be tax deductible..
Members of the Charities Crisis Cabinet
|Name||Organisation||Role / knowledge area|
|Rev Tim Costello||Community Council for Australia||Co-Chair|
|Susan Pascoe||Chair, Community Directors Council||Co-Chair|
|David Crosbie||Community Council for Australia||Secretary|
|Marc Purcell||Australian Council for International Development||International development|
|Dr Lucia Boxelaar||Brotherhood of St Laurence||Social policy/youth|
|Prof Kristy Muir||Centre for Social Impact||Research / impact / training|
|Jon Bisset||Community Broadcasting Association Australia||Community radio|
|David Spriggs||Infoxchange||On-line and digital economy|
|Sue Woodward||Justice Connect||Legal and governance|
|Claire Robbs||Life Without Barriers||Disability|
|Denis Moriarty||Our Community||Smaller charities/ community groups|
|Ronni Kahn||OzHarvest||Emergency services|
|Jack Heath||Philanthropy Australia||Philanthropy|
|Karen Mahlab||ProBono Australia||Media and communications|
|Paul Ronalds||Save the Children||Children|
|Violet Roumeliotis||Settlement Services International||Migrants and refugees|
|Doug Taylor||Smith Family||Education|
|Mark Pearce||Volunteering Australia||Volunteers|
|Bethwyn Serow||Australian Major Performing Arts Groups||The arts|
|Dr Ursula Stephens||CEO, Catholic Social Services Aust.||Social services|