Social Impact Investment and the role of the Australian Government

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NCOSS and QCOSS make a submission to the Australian Government about social investment and the role the government can play.

We welcome the invitation to participate in the discussion on the role of the Australian Government in the development of the social impact investing market and the recognition by Treasury that impact investment is a significant matter for our financial system, and a significant opportunity to achieve better outcomes for people and communities whilst relieving government budgetary pressures.

NSW and Queensland Council of Social Services (COSS) thank the Treasury for the opportunity to make a joint submission in response to the Discussion Paper.

The Discussion Paper proposes that the Australian Government primarily support impact investing in two main ways:

  • Market Steward – creating an enabling environment by ensuring an appropriate regulatory environment
  • Market Participant – funding (or co-funding with State and Territory Governments) investments which would likely achieve savings to fund the intervention (including paying for returns to investors, where required) and deliver better outcomes for Australians.

While COSS supports Australian Government involvement in these two areas, we support and encourage it to view its role more broadly – inclusive of taking a role as a leader and market builder, as outlined by Impact Investing Australia.

COSS also recognises that improved social outcomes are goals of both State and Federal governments. Both governments benefit from a stronger civil society – either through reduced welfare spending or reduced cost and/or demand for services at the State level. As such, it will be critical for all levels of government to agree on a consistent approach to Social Impact Investing, identify investment opportunities with shared benefits, and address practical barriers to successful transactions – including data sharing, taxation treatment, investment rules, legal and regulatory barriers.

Read the full submission here.

28 February 2017 | Focus area: