Porter Will Not Commit to Keeping ACNC
8 December 2015 at 11:09 am
Social Services Minister Christian Porter will not commit to retaining the national charity regulator, three years after it was established.
A spokesman for Porter confirmed that the precarious existence for the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) would continue.
In response to a list of questions sent to the Minister by Pro Bono Australia News, a spokesperson said that Porter was still assessing the future of the ACNC.
“The Minister is working with his colleagues, including the Treasurer, to determine the best ways of reducing red tape in the charities and Not for Profits sector,” the spokesperson said.
“The Government is continuing to look at the role of the Commission.”
The comments are the first public statement on the ACNC to come out of Porter’s office since he became Social Services Minister three months ago.
The ACNC has had a baptism by fire, with former Abbott government social services minister, Kevin Andrews, committing to abolishing it.
His replacement, Scott Morrison, said that getting rid of the regulator was not a priority.
He later said he thought the ACNC should not be a regulator, but a “champion of the sector”.
CEO of the peak body of the community services and welfare sector, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), Dr Cassandra Goldie, said Porter should commit to saving the ACNC, which last week released data showing the charity sector in Australia is worth $103 billion.
“The ACOSS network has long supported national regulation as the most effective way of reducing red tape in our sector,” Goldie said.
“In the short time since the ACNC was established, it has contributed significantly to the regulatory environment for our sector.
“The ACNC has opened up our knowledge about this vital part of the economy, providing important evidence, so quickly, about the social and economic contribution of Australia’s charities.”
Goldie said the ACNC was essential to achieving greater transparency, ensuring open scrutiny about the sector’s use of tax concessions.
She said the ACNC was also an important part of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s innovation agenda.
“As the Government looks to supporting innovation across the economy, the evidence available from the national charity regulator will be an important part of that agenda, giving expression to some of the most innovative work in our communities by charities right across the country,” she said.
In the Australian Charities Report 2014, released last week, ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe said reducing red-tape is one of the regulator’s primary objectives, “to maintain public trust, improve efficiency and sustain a robust and vibrant non-profit sector”.