Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Turning the tide on philanthropic advice

The number of high-income Australians being encouraged to be philanthropic has increased by more than 200 per cent since 2002.

Families and Community Services Minister Mal Brough today launched a Queensland University of Technology report based on a survey of 115 financial and legal advisers to high-income earners.

The report, Is the Tide Turning? Professional Advisers’ Willingness to Advise About Philanthropy, found 44 per cent of advisers encouraged their clients to engage in philanthropic strategies in 2005. This compared to 14 per cent in 2002.

"Australia’s financial and legal professionals are playing an increasingly important role in encouraging philanthropy in Australia," Mr Brough said.

"The not-for-profit sector will benefit financially from this increase in the number of advisers assisting their clients with philanthropic solutions."

The University’s Centre of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies undertook the research.

Mr Brough said the Howard Government has introduced several tax initiatives to encourage philanthropy.

"The Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership was instrumental in much of the tax reform responsible for increasing philanthropy, such as prescribed private funds (PPFs) and capital gains tax exemption on bequests," Mr Brough said.

"The latest official figures from the Australian Taxation Office show that since the introduction of PPFs in 2001, more than 300 funds have been established, receiving in excess of $340 million in donations, and distributing more than $52 million to the charitable sector."

PPFs have an accumulation phase of up to 10 years to allow the capital to grow in order to generate sustainable disbursements.

The Giving Australia report, commissioned by the Partnership in 2004, found that while there was little evidence to suggest people gave because of tax concessions, tax benefits did encourage a higher level of giving by wealthier Australians.