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Charities in push for access to unclaimed funds

ONE in five Australian charities and non-profit organisations are in dire financial straits but the sector's peak body believes it has found a solution more than half a billion dollars in unclaimed superannuation, insurance policies and abandoned savings accounts.

ONE in five Australian charities and non-profit organisations are in dire financial straits but the sector's peak body believes it has found a solution more than half a billion dollars in unclaimed superannuation, insurance policies and abandoned savings accounts.

Twenty per cent of Australian charities, or more than 12,000 entities, are considering merging because they are worried about their future, a survey commissioned by the Community Council for Australia found. Staff shortages and funding uncertainty are key woes.

The sector, which employs 900,000 workers, more than any other area except retailing, contributes more than $43 billion to the economy each year, but struggled to secure capital and investment opportunities, council chief executive David Crosbie said.

Mr Crosbie wants the federal government to consider a proposal to move more than $500 million of unclaimed bank funds, super and insurance policies to bankroll a "big society" lending institution.

The proposal included only "dead funds" languishing in unused accounts for more than 20 years. A similar banking venture is being set up in Britain. Mr Crosbie said if Australian organisations were unable to have proper access to capital, the nation risked a dropoff in community services.


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