Where we’re at with the DGR campaign
Our sector’s on-going campaign for DGR reform is gathering momentum, thanks in good part to leadership from Stand Like Stone Foundation on the Limestone Coast in SA.
The Foundation hosted a visit from their local federal MP Tony Pasin, Member for Barker, and Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities and Electoral Matters, Senator Zed Seselja in September. Stand Like Stone directors took the opportunity to show the Minister their work on the ground and explained the challenges the current DGR regime poses for community foundations, especially those working in regional Australia. The Minister indicated an interest in working on a solution.
On 24 October, Tony Pasin referred to this visit and the DGR issue in a speech in Parliament:
The lack of appropriate DGR status causes significant issues and costs for many community foundations, particularly those in rural and regional communities. For the sector as a whole the administrative costs involved in working around these issues is estimated at $1.5 million a year. That’s $1.5 million that could be going to the many good causes that foundations like Stand Like Stone support. Community foundations like Stand Like Stone play a huge part in giving and supporting community action but this barrier is a handbrake on grassroots giving.
Community foundations need to be granted DGR item 1 status, thereby reducing the red tape and administrative burdens of workarounds, enabling a more collaborative environment for private ancillary funds. I’m working with my colleagues, including Senator Seselja, on this issue. I’m hopeful that a solution can be found, so that this handbrake can be taken off the sector and off great organisations like Stand Like Stone that are doing so much good in the … community.
Since then, with a bit of coordination from ACP several Community Foundations in electorates held by Coalition MPs have written to their local Members, asking the respective MPs to contact Minister Seselja to support the case for DGR reform for community foundations.
We are delighted that Tony Pasin MP is championing the cause of community foundations.
Thanks to Stand Like Stone for creating this opportunity for us to keep making the case for reform jointly and persistently. Watch this space!