Andrews Rejects Sector Plea to Save ACNC
20 March 2014 at 9:42 am
The Federal Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews, has publicly rejected a last ditch appeal by the Not for Profit sector to try to save the national charity regulator.
Referring to an open letter to the Prime Minister signed by dozens of peak body and Not for Profit sector leaders, the Social Services Minister responded saying the ACNC must go to free up red tape.
“Today’s open letter from the Community Council for Australia opposing the Government’s plan to abolish the Australian Charities and Not For Profits Commission has been signed by only 54 individuals who are not representative of the more than 600,000 NFPs that make up the sector,” Minister Andrews said.
“I have had ongoing consultations with major stakeholders and have heard overwhelming evidence that the ACNC needs to go.The Coalition Government made an election commitment to abolish the ACNC and that is what we will do.
“As the regulator of every Australian taxpayer, the Australian Tax Office is more than capable of overseeing the work of charities – it’s done it before, it can do it again.”
Lead by the Community Council for Australia, the open letter said the signatories wanted to make it very clear to the Commonwealth Government and wider community that, like most charities across Australia, they value the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission, and want to “see it continue its impressive work”.
Signatories included Peter Winneke of the Myer Family as well as other key groups including the AICD, Justice Connect , ACOSS, the Myer Foundation, RSPCA, Wesley Mission Victoria, World Vision and Lifeline.
The Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission was established in 2012 following a Productivity Commission review of the Not for Profit sector by the former Labor Federal Government.
“This government intends to starve the ACNC of funds, close it down as soon as it can (the current Senate support the ACNC) and return the key role of determining charitable status to a Commonwealth bureaucracy – probably within the Australian Taxation Office,” the open letter said.
“This approach is, at best, an unfortunate policy for charities across Australia and our community. Red tape will continue to grow; the size of the bureaucracy will grow; services to the sector and the public will be reduced.
“The vital work of the ACNC must be maintained, for the benefit of charities, Not for Profits and the many communities they serve.
“Charities and the broader Not for Profit sector are at the heart of Australian communities. They are there in the good times and bad,” the letter said.
The Coalition Government introduced legislation on Wednesday in the first stage of a two part process it said would abolish the ACNC.