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Public servants urged to use paid work for aid work

Government workers in Canberra will be the first in Australia to be given a new target for making donations to charity through payroll deductions.

Monday June 28, 2010

Professor Peter Shergold AC, formerly Australia's most senior public servant and now Macquarie Group Foundation Professor at the Centre for Social Impact, and Annwyn Godwin, The Merit Protection Commissioner (representing Stephen Sedgwick the Australian Public Service Commissioner), will join forces with Red Cross at midday today (Monday June 28) to promote charitable giving in government workplaces.

Using the theme Put your paid work to aid work Canberra's top bureaucrats will be asked to take a leadership role in promoting and setting targets for workplace giving in the Australian Public Service.

"I fully support the initiative by Red Cross to engage the Australian Public Service in Workplace Giving to the not-for-profit sector", Mr Sedgwick said.

"The potential benefits for our community, staff and our workplace culture are great.

"Here is an excellent opportunity for the Australian Public Service to lead the way as we do in so many other facets of daily life.

"If just 5% of our employees in Canberra donated (via their payroll) just $10 per fortnight by Christmas 2011, the Public Service could collectively contribute over $2 million dollars per year to the sector."

Professor Shergold also lent his support, saying: "Senior management needs to take the first step by individually signing up to the program. This will send the clear message that action is required for change to occur in our communities."

Public service department and agency leaders have been invited to play a real leadership role to instill a culture of giving and help to increase giving participation rates by December 2011.

Red Cross Chief Executive, Robert Tickner, says: "Workplace Giving is a low-cost and low-maintenance way to support charities such as Red Cross.

"Knowing that funds will be available on a regular basis means Red Cross can confidently plan ahead to establish a range of sustainable programs to assist vulnerable people."

According to a recent report, Cutting to the Heart of Workplace Giving by the Australian Charities Fund and Centre for Social Impact, the majority of Australians feel encouraged to make a difference by giving to charity, but 16% are not aware of Workplace Giving programs.

Research findings also reported that if one in 10 working Australians made a payroll charity donation of $5 each week on top of their existing donations, the Australian community would benefit by over $260 million each year.

Mr Tickner also took the opportunity to acknowledge the wide support provided to Red Cross by the Australian Government.

"Red Cross works collaboratively with AusAID, assists refugees and asylum seekers, works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and supports the homeless, people with mental illness and others with complex needs, as well as having a commitment to tackle entrenched locational disadvantage," Mr Tickner said.

For more information about Workplace Giving visit the Red Cross website at

What: Public Service Workplace Giving Launch
When: Midday, Monday June 28, 2010
Where: National Press Club, Canberra
Who: Professor Peter Shergold, Macquarie Group Foundation Professor, Centre for Social Impact (Keynote speaker), Annwyn Godwin, The Merit Protection Commissioner, representing Mr Stephen Sedgwick, Public Service Commissioner; Robert Tickner, CEO, Australian Red Cross

Media contacts:
For more information or to interview Robert Tickner, please contact: Tina Peter - Media Adviser Red Cross, 0457 318 654.