PILCHConnect Calls for National Coordination in Response to Productivity Commission
8 December 2009 at 12:09 pm
PILCHConnect says recommendations such as the establishment of a national, independent regulator, a national Not for Profit Legal structure, and the recommendation that all Australian governments adopt the Standard Chart of Accounts (QUT) for reporting by Not for Profits in receipt of government grants represent a comprehensive road map for reform.
Sue Woodward, Senior Lawyer with PilchConnect says if all Australian governments co-operate to ensure prompt implementation, these reforms will achieve significant reductions in red tape and complexity for all Not for Profits, no matter their size, activities or location.
However she warns that if this does not occur, there is likely to be considerable sector disquiet as, if yet again, no progress is achieved on these long standing problems.
PILCHConnect has also commented on several critical implementation issues including: limits to the Commonwealth’s powers under the constitution (which will determine how a new legal structure and nationally consistent fundraising laws can be achieved); the related issue of mandatory migration to the new legal structure vs an opt-in scheme; possible forum shopping; and whether the new Registrar should be a separate regulator or part of ASIC.
Sue Woodward says if the States are not willing to refer specific powers over existing incorporated associations and fundraising regimes to the Commonwealth,then PILCH agrees that as a fall-back position, a national legal framework should be achieved by creating an ‘opt-in’, best practice Commonwealth model for legal structure and fundraising that is overseen by an independent, specialist regulator.
In terms of priorities for implementation, Woodward says the highest is the establishment of the new, independent, specialist regulator that is properly resourced and with power to endorse charities and other related bodies. PILCHConnect supports the establishment of the Office for the Not for Profit Sector in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, however, it says establishing this Office without a new regulator is not sufficient.
Woodward says only a policy leader within government combined with an independent regulator will be able to roll out this reform package.
Woodward says that by embracing the Commission’s road map for reform, she believes the Australian governments can have an enduring impact on the effectiveness of the regulatory regime for Not for Profits which, in turn, will maximise the sector’s contribution to Australian society.
She says Not for Profits should be pushing for a one-stop shop that covers taxation, fundraising and legal issues and if the states cooperate then they can create something special and log overdue in the sector.
Download the full submission see www.pilch.org.au/submissions