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Making a difference

Impact Fund

2019 Large Grants Update

For the 2019 Impact Fund Large Grants Round, our giving community once again came together to fund national campaigns across the Fund’s four Impact Areas.

Here’s a snapshot of what each campaign has achieved so far, and what’s next in their journeys towards positive impact.


Raise the Rate

Grantee partner: Australian Council of Social Service

Impact area: Tackling Inequality




About the campaign The biggest risk of living in poverty in Australia continues to be having to rely on the unemployment payment, Newstart, for income at $40 a day. Newstart has not been increased in real terms for 25 years despite real increases in other social security payments and wages. Led by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), Raise the Rate is a national campaign that seeks to secure an increase to the base rate of Newstart and other allowances by at least $75 per week.


What’s happened so far? As the Covid-19 crisis began to unfold, the Federal Government replaced the Newstart allowance with JobSeeker and related payments. This was an important acknowledgement that these payments were not sufficient to live on. With the JobSeeker payment since being reduced in July 2020, ACOSS has launched the Raise the Rate for Good campaign, and is now working to ensure that the payment never returns to $40 a day.


What’s next? With more people on the unemployment allowance than ever before in Australia’s history, the campaign is pushing to lock in a permanent increase to JobSeeker. ACOSS is putting forward a set of fair and sustainable policy recommendations that include increasing JobSeeker in line with pension rates, as well as other measures that will ease access to income support. The campaign will continue to mobilise supporters to engage their Members of Parliament and work with key decision-making allies to increase the unemployment allowance for the first time in more than a quarter-century and lift Australians out of poverty.


Learn more: Raise the Rate campaign website


The Democracy Project

Grantee partner: Shark Island Institute

Impact area: Strengthening Democracy




About the campaign The Democracy Project is an upcoming social impact documentary film that seeks to pull back the curtain on the relationship between money and power in Australia. Provocative and timely, the film is a wakeup call to all Australians about the frightening extent to which money has infiltrated politics in our country, why we should care, and ultimately, how we might work together to ensure our democracy is safeguarded from sale to the highest bidder.


What’s happened so far? The film commenced pre-production in February 2020 but faced challenges due to Covid-19. The team used creative solutions to stay on schedule and have since fast-tracked shooting, including interviews with past prime ministers, current senators and leading political thinkers. The extent to which money has infiltrated our political process has become even more apparent in the aftermath of Covid-19, creating even more timely and powerful content for the project.


What’s next? The feature film is expected to be released in March 2021, premiering at Sydney Film Festival and moving into theatres before screening on the ABC in late 2021. The team will then run the film’s impact campaign, including political and community screenings, in partnership with over 30 civil society partners. The impact campaign’s expected outcomes include greater support for key partners pursuing critical democratic reform and wider interest in the function of democracy and democratic institutions, particularly among young people.


Learn more: The Democracy Project on Documentary Australia Foundation


Voice, Treaty, Truth: Progressing the Uluru Statement

Grantee partner: UNSW Indigenous Law Centre

Impact area: Supporting Indigenous Self-Determination




About the campaign There is a consensus among First Nations peoples that the gap in health, social and economic outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Australia cannot be addressed through more research and program funding alone. In 2017, the Uluru Statement from the Heart was issued to the Australian people as a way forward. The Indigenous Law Centre at UNSW is the backbone organisation that coordinates the ongoing national dialogue process to ensure First Nations voices remain at the heart of delivering on Voice, Treaty, Truth—the three pathways to justice set out in the Uluru Statement.


What’s happened so far? Over the past 12 months, the campaign has helped facilitate two leadership dialogues, the Uluru Youth Summit in Cairns and Yarrabah, constitutional workshops with legal experts, and a workshop at UNSW Sydney that brought together the nation’s leading constitutional law scholars. Funding has also helped with the development of a video campaign to further build public awareness and support.


What’s next? Voice, Treaty, Truth is continuing its public education campaign including extensive media engagement to build a more nuanced First Nations-led conversation with the Australian people about the Uluru Statement and particularly the voice to parliament. This work includes the translation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart into over 60 multicultural and Indigenous languages, as well as the launch of an accurate, detailed map of the ways in which Australian laws and policies have impacted upon the lives of First Nations peoples throughout Australian history.


Read more: Uluru Statement from the Heart website


Protecting Native Species Against Extinction

Grantee partner: Invasive Species Council

Impact area: Safeguarding the Environment




About the campaign Australia is currently facing an extinction crisis with more than 1,770 species now threatened or endangered, and invasive species are the number one cause. The Invasive Species Council (ISC) received funding to continue working with environmental NGOs, policy experts and scientists to develop a package of institutional, legal and policy reforms that would engender a more concerted focus on abating major threats to native species.


What’s happened so far? With the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act (1999) under an independent review, the ISC has been campaigning for a greater focus on threats to native species. The ISC argues that the reformed EPBC Act should facilitate policy changes to strengthen the system that prepares threat abatement plans, rather than trying to save threatened species one by one.


What’s next? The ISC is developing a reform package for the Key Threatening Processes and Threat Abatement Plans that will put greater emphasis on turning off the tap of extinction problems – invasive species, climate change, deforestation – rather than the current piecemeal process of targeting each one in isolation. The reform package will also push for appropriate funding of the system. The ISC is continuing to engage a broad network of government stakeholders and experts to stop the processes that cause extinction and find opportunities to generate new jobs in a threat abatement industry.


Learn more: Invasive Species Council blog

2019/20 Impact

Learn more about our giving community’s impact in 2019/20.