Labor and Coalition must commit to reform of Australia’s not-for-profit sector
The Community Council for Australia (CCA) has called on Labor and the Coalition to commit to a framework and timeline for implementing the Productivity Commission’s recommendations on reforming Australia’s not-for-profit sector.
The Commission’s report, published in February 2010, made 39 recommendations for removing red tape and improving regulation of Australia’s diverse not-for-profit sector.
Neither Labor nor the Coalition has so far provided a detailed framework or timeline for implementing the report.
CCA chairman and World Vision CEO, Rev Tim Costello, said Australia’s NFP sector contributed $43 billion to the country’s GDP but was beset by a range of complex and prohibitive rules and regulations as well as layers and duplicity of legislation.
“Despite the importance of Australia’s NFP sector to every facet of life in this country we’re yet to see either Labor or the Coalition put their cards on the table in terms of a response to the Productivity Commission’s report,” said Rev Costello.
“What better time to do that than during the election campaign? So Australia’s 600,000 NFPs, their almost 900,000 employees and 4.6 million volunteers can make an informed judgement as to which side is serious about addressing the issues facing the sector.”
Mission Australia CEO and CCA Director, Toby Hall said particularly important to the group was seeing commitments by Labor and the Coalition to smarter regulation of the NFP sector.
“One of the principal recommendations of the Productivity Commission’s report was establishing a national ‘one-stop-shop’ – a national NFP Registrar – to consolidate Commonwealth regulatory oversight and tax endorsement.
“Such a move would reduce compliance costs for the sector and improve its effectiveness.
“Another recommendation was that Federal Government agencies that fund community services should establish ‘social innovation funds’ to support trial programs for innovative solutions to identified problems. We’ve recently seen some action on that front but we need more.
“There also needs to be a commitment to the Commission’s recommendation for an Office for NFP Sector Engagement – and that it is set up in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in recognition of its importance,” said Mr Hall.
Stephen Judd, CEO of HammondCare and a Director of CCA, said the laws surrounding the DGR (Deductible Gift Recipient) status of charities were in dire need of reform.
“The DGR status situation in Australia is dysfunctional, long overdue for much needed attention.
“We support the Commission’s view that if DGR status were to be progressively extended to all charitable institutions and funds endorsed by the proposed NFP Registrar it would improve the current situation.
“The importance of Australia’s NFP sector requires a full and comprehensive response to the Productivity Commission’s recommendations from Labor and the Coalition. Where’s the blueprint for action? What are the timeframes for reform?
“Australia’s NFP sector has been left in limbo for many years, we can’t contemplate three years of more of the same,” said Mr Judd.
Media inquiries: Paul Andrews (02) 9641 5031 or 0409 665 495
Community Council for Australia (CCA)
The Community Council for Australia (CCA) is a non-partisan, independent, member-based organisation dedicated to enhancing the extraordinary work and effort undertaken by the sector in Australia. It recognises that the sector is diverse, however, it has many common issues, and the Community Council for Australia will be a hub for common issues discussed by CEOs in the sector, facilitating dialogue with decision makers, and exploring solutions by:
• acting as the coherent voice of NFP communities, through well researched evidence -based platforms
• providing national balanced dialogue and leadership on matters affecting Australian NFP communities
• developing effective means for member consultation, input and member-driven outcomes that benefit the sector
The mission of (CCA) is to lead by being an effective voice on common and shared issues affecting the contribution, performance and viability of not-for-profit organisations in Australia through:
Providing thought and action leadership; Influencing and shaping sector policy agendas; Informing, educating, and assisting organisations in the sector to deal with change and build sustainable futures; and Working in Partnership with Government and Business Sectors.
P: 02 9288 0011
M: 0412 915931