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Government announces incentive to help meet shortfall in charitable donations due to COVID-19

Thursday,  7 May 2020

The Leukaemia Foundation has today welcomed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s commitment to help boost charitable giving in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Federal Government said research showed donations to charities had decreased by 7.1 percent in 2020, and was predicted to decrease a further 11.9 percent in 2021, due to the outbreak of the disease.

Leukaemia Foundation CEO Bill Petch said the organisation is preparing for a significant shortfall in fundraising and is therefore urging all Australian philanthropists to take advantage of the incentive.

In a statement released today, Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities and Electoral Matters Zed Sesilja said the Government would amend guidelines for public and private ancillary funds to encourage more charitable giving during this time of need.

The Government announcement would provide incentive for those with ancillary funds to increase their compulsory minimum contribution to charities in this time of increased demand, and then receive credit on future compulsory donations in coming years.

“The credit — equal to half the percentage points by which the distributions exceed the minimum — may be used to reduce the minimum distribution by up to one percentage point in 2021-22 and future financial years until the credit is exhausted,” Senator Seselja said.

“We know these are difficult times for everyone. Like most charities the Leukaemia Foundation is dealing with a decrease in fundraising dollars, however our focus remains on supporting the needs of people living with blood cancer,” Mr Petch said.

“Australians living with blood cancer are already struggling with the dangers of COVID-19. They know contracting the disease could not only be dangerous, but tragic. Now more than ever they need our support,” Mr Petch said.

Recent research also suggests patients with blood cancers are also at a higher risk of death if they contract COVID-19 (6-11 per cent). The fatality rate in people living with blood cancer with COVID-19 is also the highest amongst all cancer patients (33 per cent)2

“Philanthropy has always been vital in helping people living with blood cancer not only survive, but live a good quality of life. We are so grateful for the financial contribution from generous philanthropists who help meet urgent needs today, and the growing need for support into the future.”

“In coming years we’ll continue to face a growing demand for our services as our research confirms the number of Australians living with blood cancer will more than double in the next 15 years.”

The recently released State of the Nation: Blood Cancer in Australia report shows that 41 Australians are currently diagnosed with blood cancer every day. Sadly 20 people will lose their life to the disease. By 2035, that number will rise to 100 people diagnosed each day and over 40 people losing their life to blood cancer, each day.

Currently 41 Australians will be told they have blood cancer and 110,000 Australians are living with the disease. According to the report, these numbers are also projected to more than double by 2035 to 100 people diagnosed with blood cancer every day and more than 275,000 living with the disease.

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