Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Giving: the Australian way

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today announced funding of over $570,000 for a research project into philanthropy in Australia.

Opening the second International Summit on Non-Profit Leadership, Senator Patterson said the Australian community had a strong history of giving to those less fortunate than themselves, whether giving of their time or donating money to charities.

“This research, initiated by the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership, is another way in which the Australian Government is working to promote a culture of corporate and individual social responsibility in Australia,” Senator Patterson said.

“The Philanthropy Research Development Collaboration, led by the Australian Council of Social Services, will undertake the research to provide valuable information to the not-for-profit sector and the business sector.”

The research will provide information that will:

  • identify the culture of philanthropy in Australia;
  • detail the levels of corporate giving in Australia;
  • measure the effectiveness of tax incentives introduced to encourage philanthropy;
  • highlight the current situation for the not-for-profit sector, addressing current mechanisms to facilitate giving and outline possible further work in this area;
  • provide reliable research to not-for-profit organisations; and
  • provide a useful base for policy development in relation to philanthropy.

“Australians are, by nature, very generous. In fact, research by the Queensland University of Technology has shown an increase in our giving following the Government’s changes to income tax laws in 2000,” Senator Patterson said.

“The research shows Australians made 16.2% more tax deductible donations during 2000-2001 than during the previous year. This is the largest percentage increase since records have been kept.”

The research will expand on the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Survey of Individual Giving completed in 1997 and the ABS Business Generosity Survey commissioned in 2000-2001.

It will also provide a strong basis for the not-for-profit sector to continue to develop, and will provide the community with a greater understanding of philanthropy in Australia.

“The outcomes of this research are expected to be released in mid 2005 and I look forward to the further development of measures that will enable the Australian community to continue their generous culture of giving,” Senator Patterson said.