Chair Report

As I write this report, 2019 seems so long ago, like another time.

I think we all now see the past through different eyes since the COVID-19 pandemic changed so much of what we take for granted.

One of the things that seems even clearer now than before is the value of an effective peak body representing the interests of charities, in all their diversity.

While today may not be the time to reflect on more recent work by CCA, the gains made for our sector as part of collaborative campaigns to address the new and pressing challenges of COVID-19 speak for themselves.  

The work of CCA over the past decade has built credibility and capacity, both of which have proved crucial over the past few months.

Within this report of our activities in 2019, there are many examples of CCA doing good work, often at the intersection between national policy and national values.  I want to highlight just one example of this approach; the research and publication of the Australia We Want report.  This is a report grounded in the views of the sector about what values matter, drawing on sector research capacity with the collaboration of the Centre for Social Impact, and providing a solid information platform for launching a broad values-based change agenda.  The Australia We Want report encapsulates so much of what CCA exists for.  It was well executed, with minimal resources, and attracted significant media and political attention, helping to shift the debate about what is important in Australian communities.  

There are many other examples of our shared commitment to change and the hard work that goes into driving our agenda forward.  This work is not without its demands and challenges, but in my role as Chair of CCA I am very fortunate to be able to work with some wonderful people who strongly share our commitment to building flourishing communities by enhancing the work of the charities and not-for-profit sector.

I want to acknowledge my fellow Board Directors.  They are an outstanding group of sector leaders, each providing invaluable advice and support to CCA.  We do not always agree, we have separate perspectives, but the level of respect and positive engagement in our role as CCA Board Directors is quite energising.  Unlike some Boards, the focus of a CCA Board Meeting is not so much on monitoring and interrogating various reports as planning and strategy.  We have limited resources at CCA, and our biggest challenge is invariably what we choose to do and what we choose not to do.  

Most of us already know that our staff are our primary resource and they are exceptional.  David Crosbie and Deborah Smith not only do outstanding work, they are clearly driven by the purpose of CCA and the goals we share.  

We were also fortunate to have some important supporters in 2019. Karen Mahlab and the Pro Bono Australia team continued to amplify our work, Sean Barrett and the Origin Foundation provided critical funding support as did Claire Robbs and Life Without Barriers.  CCA would be greatly diminished without the generous support of these and other partners who helped us along the way.

But as we always acknowledge at CCA, our real strength is our members.  Without members we would not exist.  Without members, our policy and advocacy would be not much more than opinion.  

On behalf of the staff and the Board, I want to thank every CCA member for helping us make a difference. 

We are now entering unchartered waters and we will need you more than ever before as we face the challenges of a COVID-19 impacted world.

Thank you for all your support and I look forward to working with you as we strive to better serve our communities and build the kind of Australia we want to live in.


Rev Tim Costello AO
Chair, Community Council for Australia

CEO Report

2019 was another busy year for CCA.  There were some big projects, a Federal election, writing and publishing the Australia We Want report, and running the national awareness campaign – ItTakesAVillage. 

That was all before the COVID-19 pandemic which seems to have taken the workload of CCA to a different level.  There is now a level of engagement and collaboration with CCA that we have not experienced previously.  This broader engagement reflects the consistent approach CCA has taken in supporting many initiatives to advance charities and their impact on our communities.

In this report I want to focus not so much on our work and achievements in 2019, which are set out in the annual report, but on what makes us effective.  I want to talk about the people involved and the values we enact. 

Ten years ago one of the deciding factors in my decision to accept this role was that I would get to work with people I respected, people I knew were informed by much more than ambition for themselves or ambition for their organisations.

This is what made CCA special then and what makes CCA special now.  There is no pegging out of territories at CCA, no-one seeking public credit or acknowledgement for their work, no simmering tensions.  We do not always agree, but we are all trying to achieve the same values-based vision of the kind of Australia we all want to live and work in.  

This approach is what I think makes CCA more effective than many would think possible given how small the organisation is and how big our agenda.

As a Chair, Tim Costello is a champion for values and changing our community for the better.  And he is not alone.  All our Board are not only experienced change makers, they are also motivated by the same vision of a better Australia.  It is this shared commitment to make a difference that is so often talked about within organisations, but not always demonstrated.  I cannot remember a single discussion about what needs to be done, where CCA should be focusing its efforts, or what policies we should be advocating that was not grounded in the touchstone of creating stronger communities.

Working with Tim and the CCA Board has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my career in the charities sector.

I am also fortunate at CCA to have alongside me as a staff member someone who not only effectively manages CCA, but also effectively manages me, in Deborah Smith.  Deb is an inspiration to many of us in her tireless efforts in support of CCA. 

Every day in my work, I get to talk to leaders from across the charities sector.  I am always learning more about how we need to do better, how we can leverage our work to make change sustainable.

I often say to people that CCA members are self-selecting leaders, mainly because they are informed by the same shared vision of a better Australia.  Being a member of CCA is not transactional, it is not about what members get from being a member, it is about being part of something bigger than any individual or any individual organisation.

CCA is going from strength to strength, even though we will have made a financial loss of $60,000 in 2019.  This loss is mainly because we carried forward $100,000 of unspent funds from our Origin Foundation funding grant in 2018 which was spent in 2019 to support the ItTakesAVillage campaign.  The actual loss in 2019 is less than the carried over funds, so we remain in a positive position with over $100,000 in the bank, a significant improvement on most of our past years.

This relatively strong position reflects the support of our partners, especially the Origin Foundation and Life Without Barriers who provided funding to support our work on impact investing and the new Charites Blueprint project. It also reflects a willingness of our members to support us in real terms through their contributions.

I want to thank all our members and supporters for their support of CCA in 2019.

I know we are going to be facing some big challenges in 2020 and beyond.  We still have a huge amount of work to do, a Blueprint for the future of the sector to develop, and a lot of advocacy to ensure as many charities as possible survive and thrive post the immediate impacts of COVID-19.

I am confident that with the people we have involved at CCA, the values that underpin the way we work, and the ongoing support and active engagement of our members, CCA will continue to be an effective peak body representing the charities sector and the communities we all serve.

I look forward to working with you over the coming 12 months and beyond.


David Crosbie
CEO, Community Council for Australia

Policy and Advocacy

CCA was founded ten years ago by leaders in our sector to build flourishing communities by enhancing the extraordinary work of Australia’s charities and not for profit sector.  Together, we seek a policy and regulatory environment that works for community organisations – not against them.

Thank you to our members and our partners for your involvement, contributions and support of our work throughout 2019.  It could not have been undertaken without you.

If Australia is to be a just and fair society where we increase collective ownership of local issues and build flourishing communities, there needs to be a genuine commitment to supporting reforms across the charities and not-for-profit sector (NFPs) from government and other key stakeholders.

This is not about providing more funding to the sector, but about encouraging and supporting more effective and efficient organisations delivering better outcomes for our communities.

The Budget – the most important document a Government produces

CCA’s Pre-Budget Submission to the 2019-20 Federal Budget recommended nine measures to improve productivity; boost philanthropy and workplace giving; grow access to capital and impact investing; reform DGR; and review the generous tax concessions given to mutual organisations on gaming, catering, entertainment and hospitality income.

Commenting on the 2019-20 Budget:  CEO David Crosbie told Pro Bono News the 2019-20 Budget was missing “real leadership” on critical issues. This is a budget promising a steady as you go set of services, less taxes and a small surplus in the future, but it fails to offer a compelling narrative about the kind of Australia we want to live in.  

This was contrasted with a look across the ditch at an alternative approach, a wellbeing Budget.  How good is New Zealand’s budget?, Pro Bono News, 6 June.  New Zealand has shown how government can shift from previous budget practices to focus more on measures that reflect the reality of people’s lives. 

The charities and NFP sector is too important to be left languishing on the sidelines of major economic and social policy change in Australia.

An incoming government that is committed to achieving a stronger, more resilient and productive Australia, will start by bringing charities back into national policy discussions, and provide more certainty about their future.

Shadow Minister for Charities and Not-for-profits, Dr Andrew Leigh MP and Greens spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert join charity leaders at a pre-Election forum on charity issues held in conjunction with the Connecting Up Transform conference in Melbourne. (The Coalition were unable to send a representative)

Our thanks to our partners, Connecting Up and Pro Bono News.

Putting Charities on the Election agenda

Our job in the lead up to the 2019 Election was to put charity issues onto the Election agenda. Thank you to the many members and partners that supported this push participating in policy announcements, a pre-election charities policy forum and in discussions with our political leaders and the media.  

An Election Platform valuing charities

CCA told all sides of politics that what Australia’s charities need most from an incoming Government is: 

·       Increased certainty, and 

·       Support in adjusting to rapid change.

Our election platform called for five reform measures to fundamentally shift the relationship between government and charities to benefit the Australian community.

1. Appoint a minister responsible for the charities sector and a Ministerial Advisory Group of sector leaders to provide advice about much needed reforms in the way governments interact with charities across Australia.

2. Boost sector investment and productivity by increasing certainty in government funding, concessions, incentives and regulations.  Measures would include: 

·       an agreed notice period of six months prior to the ending of any major government contract, incentive or concession;

·       increasing the time period of government contracts – where possible to at least five years;

·       more transparent and accessible processes for reviewing the performance of NFPs; and

·       more transparent and accountable processes for government funding decisions relating to NFPs. 


3. Work with the charities and NFP sector to develop a future blueprint for the sector including extensive consultation; economic modeling of future scenarios; strategies to capitalise on emerging opportunities; and increased capacity to respond to emerging risks and limitations.

4. Fix fundraising regulation by providing charities with one nationally-consistent, modern and fit-for-purpose fundraising regime as outlined time and again by the #fixfundraising coalition.

5. Reform the Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status processes by simplifying the process and supporting giving by providing Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status to all registered charities.

The Labor party responded with a suite of policy commitments (Labor gives charities the spotlight in final days of election campaign, Pro Bono News, 8 May 2019).  CCA and other sector leaders welcomed the focus on charities in the final race to the election: ‘We’re used to politicians talking about what business needs, but charities are rarely given a second thought, despite all the reform needed to ensure we have a strong charities sector moving forward.

As the Morrison Government returned to government, CCA welcomed the commitment to reform fundraising regulations and hoped the Prime Minister would appoint a charities minister in the new cabinet to ensure all charities and NFPs have a clear avenue for productive engagement with the government. (Morrison vows to prioritise NDIS following election win, Pro Bono News, 20 May 2019).

Australia's first charities Minister

CCA, a longtime advocate for a Minister for Charities, welcomed the appointment of Australia’s first charities minister, Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities and Electoral Matters, Senator the Hon Zed Seselja.

The Minister met informally with the CCA Board in the week of his appointment and has engaged positively with CCA and members inside and outside of Parliament House.

In Sydney, CCA members talked with the Minister about the link between inclusion and productivity:  a more inclusive society is a more productive society.  The discussion identified four clear opportunities for the Minister to better enable the work of charities to support their communities and a more resilient, productive and confident Australia:

1.Reduce red tape. The Minister said he is making red tape reduction a priority, focusing initially on the ACNC (including the Government’s response to the ACNC Review), DGR reform and looking at fundraising reform.

2.Build trust and champion the sector’s achievements and contribution. Leaders asked the Minister to drive a more positive discourse that celebrates the achievement and contribution of the charities sector.

3.Value and invest in capability.  Leaders want capability valued and supported. ‘Admin costs’ are destructive and of no value as a proxy measure for charity performance. It is well known that high performing businesses invest in their people, their leadership development, their systems and their resources.  Why is it different for charities? 

4.Change the language. Charities are acutely aware of the human cost of policy discussion that treats people as a ‘burden’ or a ‘problem’, an ‘us’ or a ‘them’.  Language and perspective needs to change, and there is a real productivity gain to be realised through valuing individuals and their potential.  

Senator the Hon Zed Seselja talks informally with CCA Board Members at Parliament House shortly after being appointed Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities and Electoral Matters.

30 leaders from the CCA network join Chair, Tim Costello and CEO David Crosbie in conversation with Senator the Hon Zed Seselja, Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities and Electoral Matters in Sydney.

Our thanks to James Toomey, David Pigott and Mission Australia for hosting.

Planning for our future

The future of Australia’s NFP sector is too important to our economy and our communities to grow in an ad hoc manner with little comprehensive planning or strategic investment.

Australia’s $150bn charities sector, employs 1.3 million people, enables more than 3 million volunteers and sits at the heart of our communities, our wellbeing and our economy.  

Our charities are facing many challenges, not just in terms of funding and effectiveness, but also in adapting and responding to a wide range of rapidly changing environments and emerging issues.

Yet, at present there is no plan, no strategy and no real projection about the future viability or even the sustainability of the current levels of growth across the NFP sector.  

2019 began work to change this.  With the support of Life Without Barriers, Our Community, Chair Rev Tim Costello AO and Susan Pascoe AM, CCA convened a forum of leaders to inform planning for the development of a 2030 Blueprint for Australia’s Charities.

Thirty leaders join Co-Chairs for a 2030 Blueprint for Australian Charities, Tim Costello, Susan Pascoe and David Crosbie at Our Community House in Melbourne to begin a planning process for a sector blueprint.

Our thanks to Life Without Barriers for supporting work to date; Our Community for hosting the planning forum; and the Perpetual Foundation for seed funding work to progress the Blueprint development in 2020.

It was the next step in work to build the capacity of the sector begun with sector partners including Volunteering Australia, Philanthropy Australia, Our Community, Justice Connect, Pro Bono Australia, Centre for Social Impact, Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, Impact Investing Australia and the Australian Scholarships Foundation

The effective development of a blueprint will include developing clear goals and measures of what the NFP sector is seeking to achieve, extensive consultation; economic modelling of future scenarios; strategies to capitalise on emerging opportunities; and increased capacity to respond to emerging risks and limitations.

The Blueprint is just a start.  The most important issue to emerge in the planning forum was the importance of shifting perceptions about the value and importance of charities to Australian communities, and the legitimacy of charities having input and engagement in major policy discourse and decision-making.  The implementation of the Blueprint will require more work on how we can ensure charities are valued now and into the future.

Regulation that works

CCA and the charities sector fought to establish, shape and retain the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, to build trust, cut red tape and support our communities with a resilient, responsive and well governed charities sector.

Within five years, the ACNC established itself as world leading.  During 2019 and as we waited for the Government’s response to ACNC Legislative Review, CCA continued our advocacy to support the ACNC’s role and performance as an effective regulator. We expressed concern about the impact of the loss of management and leadership skills at the ACNC over the last two years; the decline in the provision of value-add information to researchers, policy makers and the charities sector; and that despite good progress in the first five years, the promised Charity Passport is yet to be a reality. 

CCA would like the ACNC focused more on being a good regulator and less on new projects like creating a marketplace for donors.

Submission to the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) Review of the performance of the ACNC

Media commentary:

Superficial Proxy Measures – the Economist’s Folly, Pro Bono News, 17 January. CCA CEO David Crosbie responds to the Tulipwood report commissioned to inform indicators for Object 1 (b) of the ACNC Act. Even the best economic proxy measures can only partly explain what is at the heart of charities’ work.

Leadership turmoil engulfs the ACNC, Pro Bono News, 16 April.  CCA provides commentary on the importance of the ACNC after Senate Estimates drills the ACNC representative on performance and management concerns.

Charity report criticised for missing detailPro Bono News, 21 May.

ACNC puts charities on hold, Pro Bono News, 21 October.


CCA is an active member of the #fixfundraising coalition.  The decades long fight to fix the dog’s breakfast of outdated, wasteful state and territory fundraising regulations continues.

The release of the report of the Senate Select Committee on Fundraising in the 21st Century in February was welcome – but frustrating.  It failed to provide a way forward beyond an amorphous hope for states and territories to harmonise.  

Consumer Affairs ministers continued a theme of disinterest at their annual meeting.  Fundraising reform was not placed on the agenda.

CCA members and the #fixfundraising coalition continue to work with and encourage Assistant Minister Seselja to champion this issue, with real productivity gains to benefit the Australian community.  It has been raised as a priority publicly and privately in meetings with the Minister by the CCA Board, CCA members and at #fixfundraising discussions such as that hosted by the Governance Institute in September.

Our thanks to Sue Woodward and Justice Connect and our partners in the #fixfundraising coalition for the collaborative leadership and advocacy to #fixfundraising.

‘Apparently it is okay to impose a dog’s breakfast of dated dysfunctional regulations on charities, ignore the national congestion busting agenda, and ensure millions of dollars and countless hours of time continue to be wasted by charities jumping through inconsequential administrative hoops that have long outlived their usefulness.’

David Crosbie, CCA CEO in Charity leaders slam continued inaction on fundraising reform, Pro Bono News, 30 August.

Impact Investing – Making it happen

A national media push on the squeeze on revenue facing charities; the potential of impact investing; and the need to grow access to intermediaries accompanied the launch of Impact Investing – Making it happen at the Coact Conference in Brisbane in June.  

Chair Tim Costello talked with Sky News.  CCA and Life Without Barriers fielded 49 radio interviews for stations around Australia.

The report provides recommendations for government and for Board and Executive teams, drawn from the national series of CEO forums co-hosted by CCA, Life Without Barriers and expert partners, Social Ventures Australia, Social Outcomes, NAB and Koda Capital.  Our thanks to all for their involvement and support of this work.

Impact investing to boost charities sector, Investor Daily, 14 June.

Australia suffering compassion fatigue, Sky News, 12 June:  Tim Costello talks to compassion fatigue, pressure on charities and the potential of impact investing.

Can teaming up with finance groups save your charity?  Pro Bono News, 12 June: David talks to the findings and recommendations in CCA’s report, Impact Investing – Making it happen. Includes comments from Impact Investing Australia and expert intermediaries involved in the CCA/LWB forums.

‘Impact investing’ could be the answer for ACT charities’, Radio 2CC, 12 June: David talks with Tim Shaw in a radio feature following the release of CCA’s report.

The Australia we want

Australia we want – Second Report, launch on 7 May showed once more that Australians and the media are interested in our progress towards, or away from, the just, fair, safe, inclusive, equal opportunity, united, authentic, creative, confident, courageous, optimistic, compassionate, kind and generous Australia we want.

Coverage included Nine News, Sky News and ABC News 24.  Sue Dunlevy wrote a major article that was carried in the Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun and across News Corp regional publications around Australia.  There was excellent coverage in Pro Bono News and in more than 50 radio news and feature interviews. Samples include RN Late Night Live with Philip Adams;  2GB with Rev Bill Crews. 

Our thanks especially to co-writer, Axelle Marjolin, Researcher and Prof Kristy Muir at the Centre for Social Impact; and to Ross Woodward, Media Key.

The Australia we want takes a village, where education is everyone’s business

Young people who complete Year 12 or equivalent (the Australia we want measure for equal opportunity) are more likely to find employment, go on to further education or training and experience better health and wellbeing outcomes through their life.  

The It Takes a Village – Education is everyone’s business campaign used social media and storytelling to value education and ask everyone to play their part in encouraging the young people in their lives to dream big and stick with school.

Over fifty organisations partnered with the campaign.  Ten theme weeks celebrated the role of grandparents, carers, volunteers, mentors, extended family, business, playgroups, music, the arts, sport and charities.

The campaign launch saw television coverage on Sky News, ABC News Breakfast, and Channel 10.  A feature article ran in the Sydney Morning Herald and Canberra Times; and there were around 50 interviews across metro and regional radio. Other coverage generated through the course of the campaign included:

Australia wide, ABC Radio National, (from 6:34 mark) David talks about the country-city divide in educational opportunity and the role community can play in improving outcomes for young people. 

Chris says it took a village, Monaro Post, 5 June:  A case study from the It Takes a Village campaign. ‘You might be a sports coach, a music teacher, an uncle, a volunteer at a local charity or even a neighbour. If you’ve got a young person in your ‘village’, you have a role to play in helping them to get a good education and achieve their dreams… Chris’s story highlights how important it is to have a range of positive influences and instilling belief in our young people is.’

Why business has a big role in helping our kids to finish school, New Daily, 28 May:  Opinion piece by Tim Costello and Sean Barrett (Origin Foundation). You cannot be what you cannot see.  Business large and small has a role to play in building the aspirations of young people and helping our kids finish school.

Our thanks to Sean Barrett and the Origin Foundation for partnering with CCA to make the campaign possible; Brad Chilcott, Alana Mews and Essential Media for their exceptional work; and our Advisory Group for their generosity, enthusiasm, support and leadership:  Dr Lisa O’Brien, The Smith Family; Jenny Macaffer, Adult Learning Australia, Don Perlgut, Community Colleges Australia, Paul Ronalds, Save the Children Australia and Sean Barrett, Origin Foundation.

Meetings and Presentations

In addition to the policy and advocacy work already outlined, CCA contributed to high level forums and meetings, including with parliamentarians, senior Government bureaucrats, members and stakeholders and presented at major conferences and events.

These included:

Australian Taxation Office Not-for-profit Stewardship Group

#FixFundraising Reform Meetings 

Impact Investing Australia Board 

PlusOne Advisory Board

Australian Scholarships Fund Advisory Board

Revenue Diversification in For Purpose Organisations conference keynote

Volunteering NSW Conference and Volunteering QLD Conference (Keynotes)

NPA Leading through the Labyrinth – sector leaders and mentors forum in Sydney

Pro Bono News webinar panel post Budget

Philanthropy Australia roundtable

Cross-sector Leadership, The Mandarin, Panel session.

Webinar:  Isolation, with RSA Oceania

Australia’s future is better served by a resilient, high performing charities and NFP sector. 

Great to be joined by Philanthropy Australia, Volunteering Australia, Our Community, Justice Connect, Pro Bono Austalia, Centre for Social Impact, Impact Investing Australia, CBAA, Australian Scholarships Fund to bring a discussion on sector development to Parliament House.

Always an honour to talk about the value and the values of our sector.

Community can play an important role in supporting our young people to dream big and stick with school. 

Talking with Minister the Hon Dan Tehan MP at the Review of the Melbourne Declaration with Volunteering Australia.  Education is everyone’s business.

Promoting thought leadership in and about our sector

CCA media activity is ongoing and extensive.  CEO, David Crosbie and Chair, Tim Costello, contribute commentary and analysis across Australia at national and regional levels via radio, print, online and television.  Outlets who cover CCA issues include Pro Bono News, The Guardian, Sky News, ABC, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Canberra Times, Daily Telegraph and other News Limited and regional publications, and a wide range of local media organisations.

Much has already been mentioned, other media coverage included:
Tim Costello urges Australians to reflect on ‘greedy’ pre-Christmas spending, 1 December, Tim tells the New Daily that Giving Tuesday is a magnificent response to consumerism and really pointless greed. ‘More primary to happiness is meaning. And there’s meaning in saving a child’s life, building schools or helping people with breast cancer.’


Charities around the world unite for ‘Giving Tuesday’, Tim Costello talks with SkyNews and 3AW in an Ambassador role for Giving Tuesday, reflecting on wealth, happiness, giving and meaning. ‘Step back… take a pause… think for a moment, I can be generous… I can give hope to someone else.’

Data reveals the richest charities in Australia – and who gets the most government handouts, New Daily, 18 July:  CEO David Crosbie is asked about the ‘outcry’ over religious institutions – especially in education – holding charity status. 

‘We need a serious change in approach’: Indigenous strategy comes under fire, Pro Bono News, 19 June:  David says, ‘For far too long the widespread concerns of charities about how the IAS was being managed were ignored or dismissed.  It is time some in government descended from their command and control towers and engaged respectfully with charities and the communities they serve.’

Beggar’s abuse of shop staff prompts public plea to stop donations — but is that the right move?, ABC News, 15 June (and 2CC radio on 17 June):  David says the benefits of donating to charities was their commitment to working on the factors that lead to homeless, but that it was not always a bad thing to give money to those asking for it. 

Seselja signals shorter pre-poll period for next election, Canberra Times, 3 June:  Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities and Electoral Matters, Zed Seselja talks with the Canberra Times in the week following his appointment – referencing the meeting with the CCA Board and the issues raised.

Familiar faces remain in Labor’s shadow ministry ‘refresh’, Pro Bono News, 3 June: CEO David Crosbie tells Pro Bono News the priority for most charities going forward was increased certainty in both funding and policy and that Andrew Leigh and Zed Seselja’s past experience handling charity policy made him hopeful the sector was in good hands. ‘Both these politicians have a history in understanding and engaging on issues of importance to the charities sector. Andrew Leigh was the first shadow minister for charities and has held that role for over six years… to have Dr Leigh continue in that role will ensure discussions and debate about the future of the charities sector are well informed.’ Seselja hit the ground running in his role as Assistant Minister, meeting with CCA in his first week and pledging to engage positively with charities. 

High Court Ruling Another Win for Charitable Advocacy, 30 January, David tells Pro Bono News as a consequence of the ruling, no government or political party in Australia could impose limitations on charities greater than the limitations imposed on political parties. ‘This is a win for democracy and a win for all non-political campaigners.’

GetUp Ruling to Protect Issues-based Advocacy by Charities, Pro Bono News, 20 February, CCA said the AEC had very clearly stated that issues-based advocacy did not mean an organisation was acting in support of a political party – even if this advocacy highlighted the inadequacy of a particular party’s policies.  ‘If the activities such as handing out issues rankings of political parties at a polling booth during election times constitute a very small part of the organisation’s overall activities, the organisation is unlikely to be seen as acting in a political way.’

Audit Finds $443M Government Grant Process ‘Insufficient’, Pro Bono News, 17 January, David asked, ‘If $440 million can be allocated to an unsuspecting charity within three days, why is every other grant giving process made so onerous for charities?’


Promoting thought leadership in and about our sector

CEO David Crosbie writes fortnightly for Pro Bono News encouraging thinking about the context and the issues affecting the charities and not-for-profit sector.  Articles are available at:

2019 contributions included:

Two good, two bad, one leader – 2019 in reflection, 19 December 2019 – In wrapping up the year, CCA CEO David Crosbie, highlights two good trends, two bad trends and talks about one outstanding leader.

Why corporate boards need a charity perspective, 5 December 2019 – What if one position on every corporate board had to be designated as a “community interest board director” position?

Policy failure – The new black? 21 November 2019 – With a new report presenting an indictment of government policymaking in Australia, it is time we stopped rewarding failure and insisted on better government policymaking processes.

Why Australia needs more noisy charities! 7 November – Governments might not like noisy charities – but without them Australia would be a much less healthy, safe and prosperous country.

Time to pay up! 24 October – If governments are going to fund charities to provide services in our communities, they need to pay for what it is being delivered.

In the struggle to survive, you must get the basics right, 10 October – With the closure of high-profile charity White Ribbon, David highlights three important issues charities must consider to ensure they survive.

Our saving grace, 26 September -To be effective, you have to say no to some things, give yourself permission to not do everything, and to not do everything you do well.

Placing a value on learning – the great divide in Australia, 12 September – Where you live and the postcode of the school you attend will have a significant impact in determining your opportunities. We need to start addressing the educational bias that limits opportunities for people living in rural and regional Australia.

Charities are critical to Australia’s future prosperity, 29 August – This week a new report and a respected senior public servant have both highlighted that social inclusion is a key to future growth in prosperity in Australia. Social inclusion is not just part of the work of charities, it is the reason many charities exist. It is time charities get a seat at the table.

Hoping for a bureaucratic miracle? Don’t hold your breath, 15 August – David reviews the interest of governments in tackling dysfunctional regulation for charities – like fundraising regulation – in the run up to this month’s Consumer Affairs Forum. 

Someone else’s shoes, 1 August – As public policy increasingly backs the pursuit of individualism over the strength of our communities, we desperately need to promote empathy.

Hey – look over here!, 17 July – Charities are too important to be relegated to the bottom of the government priorities pile. David reflects on Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s first major public speech as head of the newly-elected government. 

Impact investing – Tokenism and words no longer enough, 20 June – The Australian government has put its toe in the water of impact investing but we’re falling behind countries like the UK and Canada where governments have made significant investments to support the market.

Beyond politics, Pro Bono News, 23 May 2019. The election provides all charities with a challenge. David Crosbie asks, ‘How do we make our values more relevant and significant in contemporary Australia?’

A thirst for more than money, Pro Bono News, 9 May 2019, David Crosbie writes the importance of enacting human values seems to have slipped off our public policy agenda, except where it can be shown to provide an economic benefit.

It’s now or not for a long time – charity election strategies, Pro Bono News, 28 Mar 2019, Now is the time for all charities to be finalising their election strategy, writes David Crosbie.

Loneliness and Villages, 14 March, David Crosbie writes in Pro Bono News that being a part of the It Takes A Village campaign has highlighted how important it is that we think about the village around not just our students, but each member of our community, as he reflects on our increasing levels of loneliness and  disconnectedness.

Dead Fish, Criminal Bankers, Aged Care Abuse – Where are the Regulators?  14 February, David writes that while the popular media debate about government performance often focuses on political games and short-term point scoring, what matters most in our communities is the quality of government services and effective regulation that protects us all.

Investing in People Who Make a Difference, 31 January, David writes that charities need to be independent, but that government should take an interest in supporting the sector’s capacity. With over $60bn in funds flowing through the sector for critical services and supports for our communities – reliant on our people for delivery – he asks, ‘Why don’t we better support and train our people?’ 

CCA Board and CEO 2019

Leadership and commitment

CCA’s greatest strength has always been the inspirational, talented and committed leadership we find in our membership and from there, our Board.

Our thanks to CCA Members and Directors for your involvement and support.