Economic Contribution of NFPs Significant for Policy Deliberations
15 October 2014 at 12:10 pm
The size of the Australian Not for Profit sector and its economic significance should not be lost on the Federal Government in its policy deliberations, a forum in Melbourne has been told.
The forum was organised by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) Commissioner Susan Pascoe AM and Curtin University’s Professor David Gilchrist and Penny Knight to discuss the key findings of the recent Curtin Charities 2013 Report.
The report commissioned by the ACNC and completed by Curtin University Not-for-profit Initiative and released in September revealed a complex Not for Profit sector that has grown by two per cent annually.
The report showed that Australian charities employ nearly one million people and that over 90 per cent of these are employed by only 10 per cent of charities.
The sector has a combined total income of more than $100 billion. Additionally, charities manage around two million volunteers.
The researchers told the Melbourne Forum that there is no evidence to support the inbuilt assumption or notion that charities and NFPs are less efficient that for-profit businesses and that a strong charity sector is a win-win outcome for Governments.
“Major changes in Government funding doesn't just affect service users, but can also impact thousands of jobs,” researcher Penny Knight said.
The researchers said what is needed is mature policy making based on recognition of the value of NFPs, respect and partnership.
The researchers said averages are not a good basis for policy and Australia needs to move toward developing policy from the specifics with leadership in the sector changing the tenor of the national discussion toward those specifics.
“Policies affecting charities and funding should consider the economic impact on the sector as a specific element,” Knight said.
“Better use of the information about its size and performance can help Government make better informed decisions about sector policy.”