$35M Plan to Strengthen NFP Sector
23 January 2014 at 9:21 am
The Community Council for Australia (CCA) has prepared a draft submission as part of the Federal Budget deliberations proposing a $35 million, seven-point plan it says will significantly strengthen Australia’s Not for Profit sector.
The draft measures include establishing a social finance taskforce, maintaining the charity regulator the ACNC, introducing a Centre for Excellence, providing Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status to all registered charities and establishing a Not for Profit bank.
The CCA said the 2014 Draft Budget Submission would drive real economic savings for the government over the coming financial year and beyond, and was seeking input from the Not for Profit sector before the document was finalised.
The draft said the projected total expenditure over three years for implementation of all measures outlined in CCA budget submission was about $35 million.
“These recommendations can be delivered at minimal cost over the next two years and offer more effective and efficient ways for government to engage with the NFP sector,” CCA CEO David Crosbie said.
“The NFP sector is too large and too important to be left on the margins of economic debates and major policy reforms within Australia.
“CCA recognises the need for fiscal restraint in response to changing economic circumstances, but also believes there are very significant savings to be made through more effective and efficient government engagement with the NFP sector.
“If Australia is going to achieve more community ownership of local issues and build a sustainable and robust NFP sector, there needs to be a genuine commitment to the sector from government and other key stakeholders.
“Short-term cutting of the NFP sector in the 2014 Federal Budget will end up costing all Australians,” Crosbie said.
Here is a summary of the draft seven-point plan:
1. Provide Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status to all registered charities with an initial phase-in period (excluding organisations for the advancement of religion and education). This measure to be funded by limiting two specific Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) concessions (capping meals allowances and limiting multiple claiming of FBT concessions).
2. Establish a Centre for Excellence in NFP Effectiveness (as recommended by the Productivity Commission) drawing upon expertise from Australia’s best NFP researchers.
3. Establish a Social Finance Taskforce (as recommended by the Senate Economics References Committee) to identify and promote better access to capital for NFPs.
4. Ensure an independent process in determining charitable status and in driving government red tape reduction by continuing to support and develop the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).
5. Increase Government commitment to and support of philanthropy by:
a) Re-establishing the Prime Minister’s Community Business partnership;
b) Providing support to allow employers to establish “opt out” systems of workplace giving to NFPs based on a 0.5 per cent salary sacrifice;
c) Providing an initial grant totaling $1 million to establish infrastructure that supports direct giving through mobile phone billing (as happens in Canada, US and the UK, but not Australia);
d) Establishing a NFP bank, drawing on dead money accounts to support capacity building in NFP organisations, generate income and address social issues;
e) Implementing the recommendations of the Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee (CAMAC) into the administration of Charitable Trusts.
6. Support the development of a Future Blueprint for the NFP Sector including extensive consultation; economic modeling of future scenarios; identification of ways to capitalise on emerging opportunities; and strategies to address emerging limitations.
7. Support the development of an independent, closed feedback loop to monitor and evaluate the health of the relationship between government and NFPs.