NFP Advocacy Under Threat
21 October 2014 at 11:09 am
Steps to restrict the policy and advocacy work of community legal centres and attacks on the tax status of environmental groups could threaten the independence and fearlessness of community organisations, sector experts warn.
Executive Officer of the Federation of Community Legal Centres, Liana Buchanan said contracts for Community Legal Centres or CLCs have have changed from the 1st of July around the use of core finances and clauses relating to policy and advocacy work have been removed.
“CLCs and other community organisations help hundreds of thousands of people every day. Helping these people is important work, but we are only doing part of our job if we don’t also tell Government what is affecting the communities we work with, and what changes are needed to make their lives better," Buchanan said.
“This critical work is currently under threat."
As well in June this year at the Liberal Federal Council, a motion was put forward to strip environmental groups of tax deductibility status.
“The motion stated that eco charities should be treated as corporations and should not be eligible for deductible gift recipient status when advocating political issues,” Dr John Spierings, Executive Officer of the Reichstein Foundation said.
“Australia needs a strong and fearless community sector.
“It is vital that the sector has the freedom to advocate for vulnerable and disadvantaged Australians, to assess and critique policy and to propose new solutions for enduring economic and social problems.
“Grantmakers need independent, non-partisan partners if we are to innovate, demonstrate and be effective in promoting social change.
Swinburne Philanthropy Alumni and the Reichstein Foundation are holding a forum on the future independence of the environmental and community sectors and the implications for philanthropy, on Monday 27 October in Melbourne.
Dr Spierings will facilitate the Forum. Speakers will include Amanda Martin from the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network, Liana Buchanan from the Federation of Community Legal Centres and Julie Edwards from Jesuit Social Services.