Sandie Cornish reflects on the end of the financial year for the CatholicCare Sydney staff newsletter.
It must be June – my mailbox is full of EOFY sale brochures and my inbox is full of begging letters from charities. The looming end of financial year prompts businesses to do their stocktake and it can also be a time for the rest of us to take stock of how we have allocated our resources. How much have we been able to give? Who and what did we give to, and how did we decide? What more can we do before the end of the financial year?
This year’s vindictive and inequitable budget announced the intention to slash the funding of many programs that we at CatholicCare know are effective in helping people. If we don’t like how our taxes are, and are not, being spent we can make some adjustment through our own private giving.
It is tempting to give priority to tax deductible donations – to hold back that tax and allocate it ourselves. But where does that leave agencies who are important advocates of structural change but do not have DGR status? Just as CatholicCare responds to immediate needs while also working on underlying causes and advocating change, I try to keep a mixed portfolio of giving.
When an issue touches us, or someone we know, personally it is easy to see the need and make a response. But these may not be the greatest needs. The option for the poor that inspires CatholicCare also inspires me to try to identify and respond to the greatest unmet needs.
Catholic Social Teaching sees the role of government as organising and promoting the common good, and the tax-transfer system ought to be a mechanism for solidarity, not protecting privilege or punishing people. We will always need to exercise personal responsibility for building up the common good too.