Community Council For Australia Gathers Momentum
7 April 2010 at 5:10 pm
A new venture to represent Not for Profit organisations across the sector in Australia says it is gaining momentum as peak bodies and smaller charities sign on.
The Community Council for Australia (CCA) was launched in March as an independent, non political, member-based organisation with the aim of bringing Not for Profit communities together and representing organisations to Government on common, broad sector issues.
The initiating organisations were HammondCare, Mission Australia, Philanthropy Australia, Social Ventures Australia, The Benevolent Society, The Smith Family and World Vision Australia.
The CCA has been born out of controversy after previous unsuccessful attempts to bring together various groups within the NFP sector.
CCA founder Kevin MacDonald says however, he doesn’t plan to get into a political stoush with the sector or the government about who’s doing what. MacDonald comes from a business background as a former head of the NSW Chamber of Commerce.
He says results will be the best way to judge success as CCA plans to be a knowledge hub for issues that affect the Third Sector and to be inclusive of all the various parts of the sector.
Already in recent years there have been two organisations set up as umbrella or peak groups to represent Not for Profit organisations.
Nonprofit Australia was established in 2004 with initial funding from the Australian Government, and later corporate funding, with a mission to improve the viability of Not for Profit organisations and stimulate collaboration across the sector. It was chaired by the CEO of Smith Family, Elaine Henry.
Kevin MacDonald says Henry has now made Nonprofit Australia inactive and is putting her weight behind CCA. Henry has become one of three inaugural directors of CCA.
MacDonald says there is also a significant point of difference between this new organisation and the existing National Roundtable of Nonprofit Organisations.
He says the Roundtable is a peak of peak bodies around Australia, while CCA offers membership to peak bodies as well as large and small organisations across the NFP spectrum.
The National Roundtable of Nonprofit Organisations was set in 2006 and describes itself as a critical piece of infrastructure for the NFP sector. It is chaired by David Thompson, who is also head of Jobs Australia.
Thompson says that there was some optimism in trying to put together a single organisation in mid-2009 as some of the peak bodies and charities shared the same aims.
But he says in the end the different approaches meant that they decided to set up another organisation.
Thompson says that the Roundtable changed its Constitution mid-2009 to allow other Not for Profits with a significant national presence to become involved.
He says the corporate sector doesn’t have just one peak organisation and he believes the Roundtable will operate something like the Business Council of Australia and the CCA will be more like the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He says that in the future they may again ‘try to go down the aisle together".
Kevin MacDonald says the Community Council for Australia already has a good head of steam in these early days with some 17 organisations already signed on. Discussions are underway with ACOSS and the Centre for Social Impact and World Vision CEO Tim Costello has been appointed as inaugural chairman of CCA.
MacDonald says the timing is right for establishing the CCA given the signing of the National Compact with the Rudd Government and the Productivity Commission inquiry and the Henry Tax Review.
He says CCA has already commissioned Access Economics to investigate how organisations in the Third Sector are coping with the possible changes and outcomes of the Productivity Commission.
He says CCA offers a sliding scale of membership fees to ensure all organisations can be represeted. Large organisations with high revenues of over $100 million would pay $35,000 per year while small charities with less than a million dollars in turnover would pay $1000 per year.
Some membership applications have been received from organisations such as Good Beginnings Australia, Lifeline Australia, Associations Forum, Wesley Mission, Aboriginal Employment Strategy, Mental Heath Council of Australia, the Centre for Social Impact, and Volunteering Australia.
MacDonald, who is working out of an office supplied by Mission Australia, says organisations in the education, welfare, overseas aid and religious based sector have come on board and he is hoping to gain membership from the arts and environmental sector in the near future.
A new website is being developed and should be online in May.
Kevin MacDonald can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02 9288 0011 or 0412 915 931