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Australian charities accused of spending donations on themselves
Last Updated: 2017-11-20 13:28 | Xinhua
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Australian charity organisations have been accused of spending the great bulk of donations on administration rather than the causes they represent.

Professor Charlie Teo, an internationally renowned neurosurgeon, said some of the country's bigger charities were spending up to 98 percent of donations on themselves.

Teo walked away from the brain cancer charity he set up in 2003 because of the huge amount spent on administration.

Charity organisations had become a 103 billion Australian dollars industry in the country, accounting for almost 10 percent of the workforce, he said.

"People don't quite understand that a lot of the money they donate, hard-earned money, goes to the running of the charity and not to the cause itself," he told the Weekend Sunrise television program.

"The public would object if they knew the CEOs were driving a company car, travelling first class."

"The defence is they need to spend this amount of money to run the charity. That is untrue."

The surgeon said he was starting a new fund dedicated to beating brain cancer.

The Charlie Teo Foundation is scheduled to launch in March next year with minimal overhead costs.

"It is all about volunteerism. It is all about the cause, not the running of the charity itself. There is no reason why these cannot run lean."

"It hurts me, so I can imagine it would hurt anyone that the money is not going to where it is meant to be going."

Dr Teo said leaving the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation after 14 years was not easy.

"It was a great foundation, I was happy with what it had done," he said.

"(The) 65 percent they would spend on overheads is good compared with other large charities."

"(But) it is wrong that 65 percent should be good. It should be around 10 to 15 percent."

Earlier this year, the charity run by high-profile former Australian cricketer Shane Warne was investigated by Consumer Affairs Victoria because of the "low proportion of funds raised that were distributed to beneficiaries in recent years".

It had previously been revealed the Shane Warne Foundation had donated just 11 cents to 32 cents of every dollar raised each year on behalf of sick and underprivileged children since 2011, meaning 68 to 89 percent of funds were spent on administration. The foundation closed in 2017.

In the past month, the Australian government had announced a 100 million Australian dollars fund that aims to double the survival rate of brain cancer patients within a decade.

However, Teo said this was not enough to tackle the issue.

"I am hoping by starting my foundation and stepping away from the corporate charities, hopefully that will lead to better results."

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