Politicians Divided on Charity Mergers
Wednesday, 11th November 2015 at 11:41 am
Australia’s federal politicians have mixed views on the call for charities to merge or close.
In a statement to Pro Bono Australia News, Social Services Minister, Christian Porter, indicated his general support for calls by sector leaders for hundreds of charities to merge or close.
“With over 600,000 Not for Profit organisations, the Commonwealth Government supports the sector making decisions around improving efficiency and how best to work together,” Porter said.
“The charities and Not for Profit sector plays a vital role in helping vulnerable and disadvantaged people in society.
“It’s clear the sector delivers important services and that’s why I’m working with all levels of government and the sector to ease the administrative burden.”
Greens spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert, defended small charities and their outcomes.
“There are lots of small grassroots Not for Profits doing incredible work and there are many of these that should not be absorbed into bigger organisations. We support a diverse and multi-faceted charities sector with organisations both big and small,” Siewert said.
“As we’ve learnt from the chaotic IAS and Department of Social Services funding process – large organisations that may appeal to the Government may not have the same connection with community that smaller grassroots organisations maintain.
“However, there are circumstances where the communities best interests may be served by some organisations joining together. This should not be driven by Government’s desire to streamline organisations for the sake of administration. It should be based on the needs of the community.
“What the Government should prioritise is more funding certainty for the Not for Profit sector; we need a Government that allows them to plan into the future.
“The Australian Greens support substantive and meaningful delivery of services, in some instances only small grassroots organisations can deliver that. It is about more than just efficiency.”
Labor’s Shadow Minister for Communities, Senator Claire Moore, stopped short of saying charities should merge.
“Labor supports a vibrant and diverse charities and Not for Profit sector,” Moore said.
“Unfortunately, the sector has seen dramatic cuts and a botched community grants program by the Liberals that has put at risk vital services that support vulnerable communities, families and children.
“Labor will continue to work with the sector to ensure proper supports for vulnerable Australians.”