Gov Warned Over Rushing Consultation on ACNC
16 December 2011 at 12:55 pm
As the Federal Government rushes to get the charity watchdog, the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, up and running by mid 2012, some leading Not for Profits organisations have expressed concern that the government is rushing through the key consultation process.
A number of key Not for Profit organisations have told ABC Radio’s PM program that the government’s proposed Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is being rushed through and way well end up increasing their workload, rather than reducing it.
The Gillard Government this week released the exposure draft legislation for the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC), along with a discussion paper to gather community feedback on elements of a new reporting framework for charities, with submission on the draft legislation due on January 20th, 2012.
But the PM report says NFPs are concerned that they have been given just a few weeks over Christmas to comment on the legislation, with some organisations due to report back to government by January 6th.
Dr John Falzon, CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society, told the PM program, “There are some real concerns within the community sector about the apparent speed with which this is going to come about.”
“I simply wish to ensure that the voices are properly heard and noted, that the consultation is real and not tokenistic,” Falzon said.
Falzon said the community sector is under pressure to make submission be some ‘fairly drastic’ cut-off dates in January, which he said “is of course a very difficult period for us to be able to consult adequately within our own networks.”.
Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) deputy CEO Tessa Boyd-Caine, told PM “its quite likely that there will be at least some duplication of reporting responsibilities and potentially some increase in reporting responsibilities from the very beginning of the commission,”.
Treasury says it recognises this is a very tight time frame, however “In order to have the ACNC operating by 1 July 2012, legislation for the ACNC will have to be ready to be introduced into Parliament in the first quarter of 2012. This means that the Government needs to consult on the exposure draft and explanatory materials for the ACNC in December 2011, to allow time to take account of comments from the sector, prior to introduction into Parliament. The Government may not be able to take late submissions into account.”
The exposure draft and supporting documents can be found at www.treasury.gov.au under the Not-for-profit Reform section and the discussion paper on implementation design of the ACNC can be found here http://acnctaskforce.treasury.gov.au.