Govt Hiding ACNC Report Card - Labor
9 October 2014 at 9:56 am
The Federal Opposition is calling on Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews to release findings from a consultation process that could determine the future of the national charity regulator, the ACNC.
Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh said Andrews was keeping the public sector in the dark over how his plans for replacing the the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) have been received by the sector.
Leigh said that in July the Government released an options paper which recommended that the dedicated charities commission be replaced by a mix of oversight from the Australian Tax Office and self-reporting by not-for-profits.
“Minister Andrews called for public submissions responding to this paper, and his department also held 10 forums around Australia for representatives of the charity sector,” Leigh said.
“The department promised to publish the findings from this consultation process on its website in September. Yet here we are in the second week of October and there is still no sign of the submissions being released.
“Could it be that the Minister is holding back the submissions because they rubbish his idea of scrapping an agency which is making life easier for charities and increasing transparency across the not-for-profit sector?
“We already know that a year of dedicated campaigning by Minister Andrews against the commission has failed to dent the sector’s support for it.”
A spokesperson for Andrews denied the accusations, saying the publication of the submission had simply been delayed.
“It has always been the intention of the Department of Social Services to provide a summary of ACNC consultation,” the spokesperson said.
“Once finalised, a summary will be published on the DSS website.”
In the most recent State of the Sector survey from Pro Bono Australia, 82 per cent of charities said the commission was important for a thriving Not for Profit sector.
“In the previous year’s survey 83 per cent of charities said the same, so Minister Andrews’ efforts have clearly failed to convince anyone that the commission should be scrapped,” Leigh said.
“It is not good enough for the Minister to withhold submissions made in good faith on the future of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. It is totally unacceptable if he is doing so simply because the submissions disagree with his preferred course of action.
“In the interest of having a transparent and frank discussion about the future of this important agency, Kevin Andrews must immediately release the submissions and feedback from his consultations on the charities commission.”