Sector Welcomes Red Tape Reduction
9 August 2010 at 3:33 pm
Australia's Not for Profit organisations have welcomed the announcement that a re-elected Labor Government would establish an Office for the Not for Profit Sector, a Not for Profit Sector Reform Council, immediately commence a scoping study for a National regulator and implement measures to reduce red-tape.
Community Council of Australia Chair (CCA) and World Vision CEO, Reverend Rim Costello, welcomed the commitment by Labor to establish an Office for the Not for Profit Sector if re-elected.
Costello says this key recommendation of the Productivity Commission will play an important role in having consistency across the nation and across government. He says this is the first time that the sector has had a single reference point within Government.
|Assistant Treasurer Nick Sherry, at the Labor policy announcement in Fitzroy|
CCA Director and CEO of HammondCare, Dr Stephen Judd, says the commitment to slash red-tape and move towards a ‘one-stop-shop’ regulator is going to make a huge difference not just for NFPs, but for the Australians who interact with them.
ACOSS CEO, Dr Cassandra Goldie, says the scoping study to determine the feasibility of the regulator is a great first step to refine the best model for regulation of the sector. Goldie says the effectiveness of the regulator will depend on the extent to which it has the confidence and support of the sector, and ensuring input into the scoping study is an important move.
Goldie says ACOSS also supports the establishment of a Standard Chart of Accounts as the first step towards the reduction of red tape agenda.
Director of Services Sustainability at UnitingCare Australia, Joe Zabar, says it’s good to see the Government is committed to the recommendations that have come out of the time consuming and demanding review processes carried out in recent years.
Zabar says their agencies are spending too much time jumping through hoops to secure contracts and funding and to comply with management, reporting and acquittal requirements.
CEO of the Smith Family and CCA Deputy Chair, Elaine Henry, praised the decision to locate the office for the Not for Profit Sector within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, saying it is an acknowledgement that the NFP sector is a key contributor to a prosperous economy and cohesive community within Australia.
Henry says today’s announcement recognises that the lifeblood of the sector relies on not only reducing red tape, but also on embedding collaborative social innovation to inform policy and solve our seemingly intractable problems.
Frank Quinlan, Executive Director of Catholic Social Services Australia, says the reforms will breathe life into a sector strangled by red tape and bureaucracy.
Quinlan says their workers want to spend their time helping people, not ticking boxes and filling out hundreds of different forms.
With already limited funding to support services, Quinlan says some programs have to spend more than 50% of funding on administration costs.
Quinlan says Catholic Social Services Australia has worked directly with the Prime Minister Gillard on these issues over a number of years, and that her personal commitment to the sector is reflected in these reforms.
David Crosbie, CEO of the Mental Health Council of Australia, says the measures are real steps forward for all those community based organisations struggling to respond to an increasingly demanding bureaucracy while trying to maintain their core mission.
Crosbie says that while the non government sector could always do with more funding, this package is about ongoing reform for non government organisations. Most importantly, he says, it is a step towards better supporting those providing mental health services where they are most needed – outside hospitals and within our communities.
Sue Woodward, Senior Lawyer with PilchConnect, welcomed the red-tape reduction, saying the regulatory regime for NFPs is more complex than for business, despite the fact that many small NFPs rely almost entirely on volunteers and have limited resources.
Woodward says most NFPs they work with just want to focus on the reason they set up in the first place, not on wading through complex legal and regulatory reporting obligations.
PilchConnect called on the Coalition and Greens to release their policies on Not for Profit regulatory reform.
Not for Profit Organisations demanded action last week, after a survey by Pro Bono Australia and the Centre for Social Impact revealed the sector demands Government action on the Productivity Commission's recommendations. 1500 people took part in the survey which was used as the basis for a "Manifesto Towards a Thriving Not for Profit Community Sector", which was sent to all major political parties last week.