Independent Senator Backs ACNC
5 September 2013 at 12:05 pm
Support from Independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon for the new charity regulator the ACNC could see Coalition plans to dismantle the organisation further stymied.
Senator Xenophon told a South Australian Council of Social Service pre-election Forum that he supported the ACNC and wanted to see it strengthened, not weakened.
Last week the Greens Senator Rachel Siewert confirmed her party’s support for the continuation of the Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission despite the Coalitions confirmation ii would restructure the ACNC into a smaller, educative training body, returning regulatory powers to the ATO and ASIC.
The Opposition spokesman on Families, Housing and Human Services, Kevin Andrews reiterated last week that if elected, the Coalition would abolish the ACNC and replace it with a Centre for Excellence.
Given that the likely post-election outcome in the Senate will be either that the Greens will retain the balance of power or Sen Xenophon will have the balance in his own right, with both supporting the continuation of the ACNC, the plan to cut the new regulator under a new coalition government would not be able to proceed.
Senator Xenonphn said that multiple reviews over many years have said a Charities and NFP Commissioner is vital for the health of the sector.
"It would be ridiculous for the Coalition to ignore this advice," he said.
"Charities and Not for Profits contribute a huge amount to our communities, and deserve to be supported through tax breaks and other measures. The ACNC simply makes sure the money goes where it deserves, and not to unscrupulous operators.
"Up until now, no one knew exactly how much charities and NFPs received in tax breaks, although it was estimated at over $1 billion. The Coalition talks a lot about financial responsibility, so it makes no sense that they’d want to shut down the very organisation that makes sure this money goes to legitimate organisations," Senator Xenophon said.
Dr. Greg Ogle , Senior Policy & Research Analyst at SACOSS said after the Forum that the fate of the ACNC post-election is a concern to the sector given the work that went into setting it up and the Liberal policy of radically changing its mandate.