Opposition Parties Respond to NFP Sector Survey
4 September 2014 at 4:03 pm
The major Federal Opposition parties have responded to Pro Bono Australia’s State of the Not for Profit Sector survey saying the Abbott Government must heed the words of the sector and its support for the charity regulator, the ACNC.
“In a major survey released today, four in every five Australians working in the Not for Profit sector back the charities commission, showing the folly of the Abbott Government’s plans to abolish it,” Shadow Communities Minister Claire Moore and Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh said.
Pro Bono Australia national online survey in conjunction with Net Balance Research Institute and the Community Council for Australia found 82 per cent of respondents believe the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) is important or extremely important for a thriving Not for Profit sector. This is consistent with the 83 percent of respondents who backed the ACNC in the 2013 survey.
The survey sampled the views of 1250 Not for Profit leaders and managers (including 800 CEOs), staff and volunteers.
Senator Claire Moore and Andrew Leigh called on the Abbott Government to recognise the survey results as yet more evidence that the sector does not support its ideological plans to repeal the ACNC.
"The Coalition has been working for almost a year now to undermine the charities commission, yet can’t dent the robust backing it enjoys across the community sector," Dr Leigh said.
“Only six per cent of those surveyed agreed with Minister Kevin Andrews that the Australian Tax Office should resume responsibility for regulating charities. That is exactly the same figure as in the 2013 Pro Bono survey.
"In twelve months, the Government has failed to convince any charity or Not for Profit of Mr Andrews ill-conceived plan to tear down this effective agency," Dr Leigh said.
The survey also found that the confidence of the sector has sharply declined since Tony Abbott took office, with a 34 point drop in the Not for Profit Sector Perceived Performance Index.
"It’s not just regulatory uncertainty facing the sector. Many community service providers face turbulent times because of hastily changed funding arrangements and no transition periods across many portfolios," Senator Moore said.
"The Government's half-baked policies are having a damaging impact on the capacity of Not for Profits to deliver services and assist the most disadvantaged people in our community to build better futures. That can only cost us in the long term.
"Labor urges a genuine partnership with the sector, especially now at a time of rising unemployment, as it produces better outcomes for all Australians." Senator Moore said.
The Australian Greens said that the Abbott Government’s cruel budget, the defunding of social services and ongoing uncertainty about the future of the ACNC are key factors behind a significant drop in the Not for Profit Sector Perceived Performance Index over the last twelve months.
“The results of this survey have highlighted the challenges facing Australia’s vital community and Not for Profit sector,” Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on family and community services said.
“The survey identified the Government's approach to “policy, regulation and funding” as having negative impacts for the sector. With the Government undertaking an ideological campaign against vulnerable people, the role of advocates and the community sector has never been more important.
“The survey reflects the feedback I continue to receive from the sector on the ACNC and also the pessimism from organisations about their ability to continue to carry out their work in the face of funding cuts.
“The community sector overwhelmingly supports the ACNC and definitely does not want to see the Tax Office in charge.
“This Government mouths words about the importance of the sector but then cuts funding, slaps on gags on contracts and puts in place policies that hurt and punish the people that the sector is trying so hard to help and support.
“The Greens will continue to oppose the Government's budget cruel budget and stand up to attempts to abolish the ACNC," Senator Siewert said.