15-19 April 2015, the author had the opportunity to visit Sydney Australia at the invitation of Sydney University. This invitation-related event Asia Pacific Awqaf Congress held Sydney University and Awqaf Australia. Some countries became participants of this activity, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, UK, Kuwait, Somalia, Fiji, Canada, New Zealand, and of course the host Australia. The participants generally endowments practitioners and academics or experts in the field of endowments of the countries of Asia Pacific.
In this Congress dealt with topics surrounding the waqf development and utilization. Some interesting topics discussed include: waqf and economic empowerment of the people, waqf for the management of the hospital, waqf for funding research and innovation in universities, waqf for the prevention former commercial sex workers, waq for business development, management of waqf and sukuk to finance commercial, waqf for farm and development school of nazir.
At the end of this event also recommended the need for cooperation between the managers of waqf in various countries for the development of waqf. The meeting also recommended that these waqf congress later be expanded into a worldwide level. In the event waqf congress is also expected to become a world-class exhibition and expo of waqf investment market. Each institution of each country will be able to show and offer cooperation or investment opportunities waqf to institutions of other countries.
In Sydney there are mosques and Islamic schools were built from waqf donations Muslim community there. For example Ali Bin Abi Talib mosque in Lakemba which was built by descendants of Lebanese Muslim community. Currently Australia waqf institutions (Awqaf Australia) based business is developing waqf. Some business activity was in the field of food such as corned beef and honey, as well as the manufacture of leather goods sheep and cattle. This endowment investment returns are used to finance various social activities of preaching and worship of Muslims.
When in Indonesia, utilization of waqf is also used for social activities to help the poor, then the numbers are very small in Sydney. This is because in Sydney and generally in Australia, public welfare are concerned. For Australian citizens who are poor, the government provides subsidies to support their lives. The subsidies in the form of a certain amount of money monthly, acquisition costs of medical treatment in a hospital and school fees in public schools (public schools managed by the government).
A colleague of Indonesia reported that, when there are fellow Indonesian people who have become permanent residents experienced pain and kidney failure must undergo dialysis three times a week routine in the hospital, all the costs have been released. Even to facilitate the process of dialysis to be done, then the machine dialysis, it can be brought back to the house, so that patients from Indonesia could do dialysis themselves after being given a technical briefing to do dialysis at home. Provision of home dialysis machine for kidney failure patients applies to all citizens in Australia.
From where the big money to provide health and welfare services? The source of funds comes from taxes. Income tax in Australia, including quite large. Australia's income tax rate ranges between 30% - 60% progressively. The greater the income, the greater the amount of tax to be paid. Although rates of labor services in Australia, including the most expensive in the world, but the taxes it pays are also very large. No wonder, when the major income tax, the state is able to provide welfare services to its citizens very well.