Coalition Will Revert Back to ‘Old’ Charities Regulation – Opposition
Friday, 22nd November 2013 at 10:46 am
The Federal Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh has condemned the Coalition Government’s plans to abolish the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC).
According to Dr Leigh, Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews has indicated he will return charities to the old system of state and Australian Tax Office regulation.
“Charities have complained about the fact that the Australian Tax Office was their default regulator. The complexity and size of the Not for Profit sector demands a resourced, national and clear approach,” Dr Leigh said.
The comments come after Minister Andrews announced that the Coalition Government would abolish the ACNC in a speech at the Family and Relationship Services Australia National Conference on November 7 in Canberra.
“As the Minister responsible for charities and the not-for-profit sector, let me be clear – the government will abolish the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission,” Andrews said.
“And until legislation is passed to that effect, the government is assessing options for winding down the operations and work of the Commission.”
Dr Leigh said the ACNC was a “one-stop shop” aimed to be a single clearinghouse for all interactions charities have with the government.
“The ACNC is an essential reform to strengthen the sector’s transparency and governance and remove unnecessary red tape over time,” he said.
“The Abbott Government says it's open for business but is forcing charities to spend less time getting on with the job and more time on paperwork.
“The Government needs to explain to our tireless charity workers why they should spend more time complying with government regulations, and less time helping vulnerable people in Australia and overseas.”
The ACNC, a former Labor Government initiative, was established in 2012 under the ACNC Bill. Labor created the Commision after the Productivity Commission recommended the ACNC be established to regulate the sector and support its effectiveness. About 58,000 charities are registered with the ACNC.
“The Abbott Government is flicking new issues to the Productivity Commission on a regular basis. Yet here is an issue where they are ignoring the Productivity Commission,” Dr Leigh said.
“For too long charities that work across multiple states and territories have had to register and report to those jurisdictions as well as work through complex funding contracts and processes that the ACNC helps simplify.”