Community Sector supports NFP regulator

ACOSS Media Release 13 September 2012

The peak body for Australia’s community welfare sector, ACOSS, and the National Roundtable of Not for Profit Organisations today reaffirmed their support for the establishment of a national regulator for the not-for-profit sector and wants the legislation before federal parliament to be strengthened so ‘red-tape’ is reduced and the independence of the new body is enhanced.

“ACOSS has been a firm supporter of the creation of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and has been working closely as part of the ACNC taskforce. It’s important that legislation is passed as soon as possible so the new body can get up and running and begin the important work of improving the regulatory environment for our vital sector,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

“We welcome the findings of the Senate Community Affairs Committee report tabled yesterday. In particular, we welcome recommendations from the Australian Greens for amendments that would improve the Bill before it is passed, and urge the Government to give those recommendations due consideration.

“We believe that the commitment to the independence of the sector needs to be strengthened in the current Bill to ensure that the independence of a not-for-profit organisation is protected and not undermined by the government of the day. Some of our other concerns include, the introduction and governance of external conduct standards, the timeframe for red tape reductions and the interaction between the Commonwealth and states over the development of a ‘charities passport’ where organisations can report once to the ACNC rather than multiple times to different departments and governments.”

David Thompson, Chair of the Roundtable agreed. “There is significant work ahead to truly lead to a reduction in reporting requirements currently placing an enormous burden on the sector. Importantly, we need the states and territories to come on-board once the ACNC is created so we can get the best reduction in red tape.

“The work our sector is engaged in is far too important for divisions over the establishment of a national regulatory body. We need to work together across the political spectrum and state and territory jurisdictions to get the best possible outcome, and the best possible framework for the operation of such a regulator,” Mr Thompson said.

ACOSS submission to the Senate Community Affairs Committee and the Corporations and Public Administration Joint Standing Committee reviews of the ACNC Bill and consequential amendments.