One of the mantras of the current government is the importance of charity in society. The state is not necessarily the best deliverer of social services, they’ll tell you. Which is why it’s important to get the private sector involved.
The assumption is that the private sector and NGO’s will deliver services more efficiently and cheaply. What they never mention is the fact that charity can disappear as fast as it came.
That’s what’s just happened with Owen Glen’s promise of $80m to fight child abuse. Money that the Herald reports is now tied up in some kind of trust fund dispute.
Glenn’s offer was incredibly generous, as have been his other acts of philanthropy, and I certainly hope the money comes through, but in many ways this situation is indicative of the reason charity cannot replace the state – because it can’t be relied upon. If, for example, the money for these initiatives had been cut off once they were up and running rather than before they started the situation would likely be much worse. Indeed, I suspect the government would have had to step in.
Best it’s there from the start, I think.