Charity Regulator Gets Budget Approval
Wednesday, 13th May 2015 at 12:11 pm
The national charity regulator is not going anywhere, anytime soon, with Budget papers revealing that the Abbott Government has committed to funding the ACNC until at least 2019.
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission has not seen a reduction in its current funding and does not feature on a list of Government Agencies to be abolished or merged.
Budget Forward Estimates also provide funding for the 2016-17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years.
But the funding comes with one major qualifier, that the ACNC will only continue to operate in its current form whilst the ACNC Act remains in effect, meaning if the Government removes the Act, then the regulator would no longer exist.
Joe Hockey’s Budget Papers appear to give the ACNC a glowing review.
“The ACNC delivers education, advice and support to the sector to improve its governance and compliance with the ACNC Act. This promotes the sustainability and effectiveness of the Not for Profit sector,” the Budget Papers said.
“The implementation of a ‘report-once, use-often’ general reporting framework is to reduce red tape and simplify the regulatory framework, in cooperation with other Australian Government agencies and State and Territory Governments, to make it easier for not-for-profits to deliver their services to the community. “
While the ACNC will receive $14.8 million over the next financial year, its funding will be reduced over the following years.
In 2016/17 it will receive $13.9 million, in 2017/18 it will receive $13.5 million and in 2018/19 it will receive $13.2 million.
The Abbott Government has consistently stated that it intends to abolish the ACNC after it was introduced by the Gillard Government.
Former Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews, introduced a Bill to remove the ACNC but the Greens stalled its progress by forcing it into a Senate Committee for examination.
Andrews’ replacement, Scott Morrison, has since indicated that removing the ACNC was not a priority for his department.
Last month Assistant Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, told a meeting of Not for Profit leaders that the charity regulator looked likely to stay.
“We had a commitment to abolish the ACNC and to repeal the definition of charity and also to move back those responsibilities to ASIC and to the Australian Tax Office and to also set up a Centre for National Excellence,” Frydenberg said.
“That commitment still stands but after discussing this issue with the Minister Scott Morrison I can say to you that it’s not a priority for us to proceed with that at this time. So the commitment still stands but it’s not a priority to proceed with it at this time.
“As long as the ACNC is there, I mean I’ll leave that to Scott Morrison to answer, but as long as the ACNC is there then there might not be the same pressing need for a Centre of Excellency.”
Two consecutive State of the Not for Profit Sector Surveys conducted by Pro Bono Australia found that at least 82 per cent of people in the social sector support the ACNC and what it to stay.
Download Budget Papers related to the ACNC here.