NFP Election Debate Heads to Canberra
20 August 2013 at 10:38 am
The future of the Australian Not for Profit sector will be debated by Federal politicians in a National Press Club pre-election forum in Canberra on Friday organised by peak body, the Community Council for Australia.
The event, which heralds the first ever pre-election debate on Not for Profit sector issues, comes after a national survey, initiated by Pro Bono Australia, which found that an overwhelming majority in the sector supported the reform process of the past three years.
Taking part in the debate will be the Shadow Community Minister Kevin Andrews representing the Liberal National Coalition, Parliamentary Secretary, Senator Doug Cameron representing the Labor Government and Senator Rachel Siewert representing the Australian Greens.
“The event will highlight what the future might be for charities and the broader Not for Profit sector under the next Federal government. This is a very important sector and a very important debate,” the CEO of the Community Council for Australia, David Crosbie said.
“An address from each major political party at a National Press Club lunch during an election campaign is not just an important event, it signals that the Not for Profit sector is finding its voice and beginning to hold governments and political parties to account for the policies they impose on all of us.
“I hope the sector will be there in force. We are too significant to our economy and to the kind of society we all want to live in to be relegated to the bottom of political priorities,” he said.
“It is time for us to rise above our 'third sector' role and drive the changes we need.”
The Not for Profit election survey, by Tomorrow’s Agenda Research Institute (part of the Net Balance network) and the Community Council for Australia and initiated by Pro Bono Australia, was carried out to investigate the extensive sector reform that has taken and place in recent years and the future of that reform.
The survey found that Australian Not for Profits believe overwhelmingly that the reduction in Government red tape and compliance costs have been the most important initiatives in developing the sector over the past three years.
The sector also believes engaging with business and capacity building are high priorities for the next Government after the election.
Almost 60% of those who took part have worked in the NFP sector for more than 10 years.
Overall, survey respondents stated that most of the initiatives introduced over the past three years were important for the sector and the organisations they are associated with.
Respondents reported a strong preference for the newly established charity regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC), when compared to the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
The survey found that the establishment of the ACNC was important (81%) along with the Office of the Not for Profit Sector (73%).
Regulation by the ACNC was the most supported preference for the type of regulatory framework (44%), while only a small proportion of respondents supported regulation by the Australian Tax Office (6%).
To attend the lunch-time Canberra debate at the National Press Club see the attachment below.