DGR Reforms - Hands Off Advocacy

Proposed reforms outline a new streamlined application process for organisations, but threaten to silence advocacy and campaign work.

Arts organisations are concerned over Treasury’s latest review of the Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) framework for gifts and contributions, for which donors are able to claim a tax deduction.

The peak body for the visual arts in Australia – the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) – is very concerned about the impact these reforms will have on organisations engaging in advocacy work. New reporting requirements will limit the permissible amount of public debate and advocacy.

Penelope Benton, Co-Acting Executive Director, NAVA said, “NAVA is concerned that these reforms threaten the important government advisory work that arts organisations do based on our intimate contact with and knowledge of our sector. NAVA's history is a testament to the way this work contributes to effective and informed government policy-making,”

Although the Treasury’s Tax Deductible Gift Recipient Reform Opportunities discussion paper and recommendations appear specifically aimed at reducing the advocacy and campaign work by the environmental sector, there are other non-profit sectors that these reforms could apply to, including arts bodies.

Benton continued, “Changes to the administrative process for obtaining DGR status are well overdue and will generally be of benefit to the arts community. DGR is an essential tool for arts organisations to drive and attract philanthropic support from the private sector, which we have seen has increased in recent years since the cuts to the federal arts budget. However, it should not come with the condition of gagging the critical and legitimate advisory role played by many not for profit organisations.”

Benton concluded, “NAVA notes that the proposed reforms require all arts organisations seeking DGR to be registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). This will directly impact some small arts organisations which are currently not registered as charities but do have DGR status. This is particularly true of Incorporated Associations who have limited resources to manage the administration required by the current reporting structures. While the proposed changes will simplify the application process and streamline reporting, some small organisations may be required to amend their constitutions in order to comply. Provision to assist those organisations needs to be considered”.


NAVA has published a toolkit outlining the key points of concern to consider in formulating responses from the sector to protect advocacy work by NFP organisations. https://visualarts.net.au/advocacy/campaigns/DGR/

For further media comment and enquiries please contact:

Penelope Benton, Acting Co-Executive Director, NAVA 02 9368 1900 pbenton(at)visualarts.net.au

Yu Ye Wu Marketing & Publicity Coordinator, NAVA 02 9368 1900 ywu(at)visualarts.net.au