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Productivity Commission’s Draft Report Due


Monday, 31st August 2009 at 3:32 pm
Staff Reporter
As the Productivity Commission prepares to deliver its draft report into the contribution of the Not for Profit sector in early October, Pro Bono Australia looks at two more submissions from vastly different perspectives - finances and volunteers.

Monday, 31st August 2009
at 3:32 pm
Staff Reporter


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Productivity Commission’s Draft Report Due
Monday, 31st August 2009 at 3:32 pm

As the Productivity Commission prepares to deliver its draft report into the contribution of the Not for Profit sector in early October, Pro Bono Australia looks at two more submissions from vastly different perspectives – finances and volunteers. One of the final submissions received by the Commission was an impassioned hand written letter from a 75 year old Tasmanian volunteer, Mrs Shirley Lock who asks why volunteers are clearly disregarded in reviews and accounting. Mrs Lock lists a number of volunteer organisations from Scout leaders to running tourist information centres; describing their contribution as ‘immeasurable’ and saying that volunteers are a far too silent majority, mostly aged over 60 and many in their 70s and 80s. She concludes by saying she is ‘mighty sick of hearing of the cost of us elderly’ and calls on the Productivity Commission to ‘get real’. A more formal submission comes from international accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers supporting the introduction of a national regulator to oversee the reporting and regulatory framework of the sector. The main points of the submission are: · PWC supports the use of a common terminology and a standard chart of accounts for the NFP sector to encourage consistency and streamline interaction with government. · the introduction of a national regulator to oversee the established reporting and regulatory framework and the consistent application of agreed standards. · PWC sees the current tax policy settings for the NFP sector as basically sound, but believes there is scope for improvement through greater harmonisation of relevant legal requirements and the streamlining of applications through a central regulator. · PWC acknowledges the sector’s concerns about a growing emphasis towards short-term funding and funding only for outputs. This results in fewer funds for long-term or strategic goals and for running an efficient and sustainable organisation. It encourages the Commission to consider the impact of this on the sector. PWC says it believes the scope of this review will generate many informed views and ultimately result in positive reforms for the NFP sector; however, it also notes that there have been several other inquiries over the last nine years.  It says above all it encourages government to ensure that a bold start be made on the journey of regulatory change and sustainable reform. In March 2009 the Rudd Government asked the Productivity Commission to undertake a commissioned study on the contributions of the Australian Not for Profit sector. The study is focused on improving the measurement of the sector’s contributions and removing obstacles to maximising its contributions to society.  The Commission will release a draft report in late September/early October. Submissions on the report will be invited until the of end October and the final report will be delivered to Government in December. To read submissions go to www.pc.gov.au



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