Australian Treasury releases tax reform paper with implications for NGOs

The Australian Treasury has released a discussion paper on proposed reforms aimed at simplifying tax-deductibility arrangements for donations and gifts. Organizations hoping to raise funds currently apply for entry to one of four Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) registers administered by four different government departments, including the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. These enable Australian NGOs to issue tax-deductible receipts for donations for their activities abroad. The Treasury's paper proposes streamlining this process by, for instance, centralizing administration of DGR registry.

Comments on the discussion paper are due July 14, 2017.

News report – PS News (outlet for the Australian Public Service)


Australian Foreign Ministry launches partnership to provide rapid response to crises in Pacific

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has announced a new partnership with Australian NGOs aimed at mitigating the impact of natural disasters and humanitarian crisis, with a special focus on the Pacific region. The five-year, A$50 million (US$37.6 million) commitment will fund six NGOs – Care, Caritas, Oxfam, Plan International, Save the Children, and World Vision – to boost local capacity for disaster preparedness and response in partner countries.  

Press release – Minister for Foreign Affairs


Australia appoints first ambassador for regional health security

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has announced the appointment of Australia’s first-ever Ambassador for Regional Health Security, Mr Blair Exell. Mr Exell currently serves as First Assistant Secretary in the Development Policy Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. According to Bishop, the creation of the role is "an important step in reducing health security risks" to the region, and signals Australia’s commitment to leading in this area. The new role expands the responsibilities currently undertaken by the Australian Ambassador for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in order to “advance Australia’s interests” by focusing on the particular needs of the Indo-Pacific.

Press release - Minister for Foreign Affairs 

Australia Global health

Australia commits A$18 million to global polio eradication

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has announced that the Australian government will contribute new funding to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to support the global fight to end polio. Australia will provide a further A$18 million (US$13.5 million) over two years (2019-2020) to contribute to ending polio transmission in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria – the only countries where polio remains active. This announcement brings Australia's total funding for GPEI to A$104 million (US$78 million) since 2011.

Press release - Minister for Foreign Affairs

Australia Global health Global health R&D

iCARE and ChildFund Australia consolidate

In a move to save costs and increase efficiency, the International Christian Aid Relief (iCARE) has joined forces with ChildFund Australia, giving up its operations to the larger organization. A joint statement released on June 5, 2017, announced that iCARE will be a subsidiary of ChildFund as of July 1, 2017. The move is intended to help maximize impact, funding, and donor outcomes.

News article - Pro-Bono Australia 

Australia Global

Australia announces A$20 million to fight TB in PNG

Australia, Papua New Guinea (PNG), and the World Bank have agreed to a new health security initiative to address multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in PNG. Within this, the Australian government has committed A$20 million (US$14 million) in grant funding to the Emergency Tuberculosis Project, building on its long-term commitment to fighting MDR-TB in PNG. The World Bank will provide a further A$20 million (US$14 million) in the form of a concessional loan.

PNG has approximately 30,000 new cases of TB each year, with the highest rates of TB and MDR-TB in the Western Pacific.

Press release - Australian Foreign Minister

Australia Global health

Australian initiative calls for ideas to improve education in emergencies

On June 1, 2017, Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop launched the MIKTA (Mexico, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Turkey, and Australia) Education in Emergencies Challenge, calling for ideas to improve education outcomes for children and youth – especially girls – in emergencies. The Australian government is contributing A$2 million (US$1.4 million) to support proposals that improve the delivery and development of educational content, facilitate safe places to learn, and engage communities in better education outcomes in crisis-affected countries.

Proposal submissions are open until June 25, 2017.

Press release - Australian Foreign Minister


UN Special Envoy calls for Australia to lead regional response on TB

Dr Eric Goosby, the UN Special Envoy on Tuberculosis (TB), visited Australia from May 30 to June 4, 2017. In a national radio interview, he spoke of the importance of Australia spearheading regional efforts to deal with the scale of TB infections. He also highlighted the growing challenge of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) in the region, including in Papua New Guinea (PNG), and the importance of ensuring a global TB response in the lead-up to a High-Level UN Meeting on TB in September 2018.

During his visit, Dr Goosby traveled to a clinic in far North Queensland, adjacent to the border with PNG, to meet with teams addressing cross-border health challenges including TB. His visit was supported by two advocacy groups, the Pacific Friends of the Global Fund and RESULTS Australia.

Radio program - ABC

Australia Global health

Australia invests A$5.9 million to combat AMR

Australian Minister for Health and Sport, Greg Hunt, has announced the government will invest A$5.9 million (US$4.4 million) from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to address the threat of antimicrobrial resistance (AMR). 

In line with Australia's National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2015-2019, research will focus on the evolution and spread of AMR, the development of new products, and new approaches to prevent and manage resistance. This investment is part of the $65.9 million in MRFF disbursements announced in Australia's new budget. The A$20 billion (US$15 billion) MRFF offers a long-term source of funding for research to health improve outcomes, quality of life, and health system sustainability.

Press release - Minister Greg Hunt

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Australia announces first disbursements of Medical Research Futures Fund

On May 25, 2017, Australia’s Health and Sport Minister, Greg Hunt, announced the first grants from the Medical Research Futures Fund (MRFF)'s new research funding program. A$65.9 million (US$49.5 million) in grants will given to eight research projects, from drug trials and pilots of devices and services to clinical fellowships to projects addressing childhood obesity.

Health and medical research is one of the four pillars of the Australian government’s Long-Term National Health Plan. As such, the Australian government has committed to doubling its current medical research funding, allocating A$1.4 billion (US$1.1 billion) to the MRFF from 2020 to 2021.

Press release - Government of Australia

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