5 December 2008
ACOSS welcomes the report of the Senate Economics Committee on disclosure regimes for charities and not-for-profit organisations.
“ACOSS particularly welcomes the recommendation to establish a single national regulator which should help reduce the regulatory burden for many not-for-profit organisations while making legal requirements clear,” said Clare Martin, CEO, ACOSS.
“We also welcome the recommendation that the Australian Bureau of Statistics prepare and publish a comprehensive study of the size and composition of the not-for-profit sector and urge the Government to commit to regular data collection on the sector.”
“The practicalities of some of the other recommendations will need to be explored with the sector. For example, while ACOSS strongly supports the development of a new national legal structure that is better tailored to not-for-profit organisations, we are not convinced this must be mandatory. If the legal structure is attractive, then not-for-profit organisations will move to the new structure at the time that best suits them. Similarly, while there is a need to develop consistent accounting standards, the answer is probably not a prescriptive national chart of accounts.”
The report recognises the immense contribution not-for-profit organisations make to the community and the regulatory impediments they face. ACOSS looks forward to working with the Government in responding to the findings of the Senate Report.
Key recommendations from the Report include:
- All Australian Governments agreeing on common terminology for referring to organisations within the sector.
- Creating a Unit in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to manage issues arising for not-for-profit organisations, reporting to a Minister for the Third Sector.
- Creating an Australian National Regulator for Not-for-Profit Organisations which would develop and maintain a register of all Not-for-Profit Organisations in Australia; undertake either an annual descriptive analysis of the organisations it regulates or provide the required information annually to the ABS for collation and analysis; secure compliance with relevant legislation and investigate complaints; develop best practice standards and educate not-for-profit organisations on best practice standards; and educate the public about the role of not-for-profit organisations.
- Creating a National Fundraising Act.
- Implementing a standard chart of accounts.
- The Henry Tax Review examining taxation measures affecting the not-for-profit sector with a view to simplifying arrangements and reducing confusion.
- Establishing a Taskforce for implementing the recommendations of the Report, with membership including representatives from the peak bodies of not-for-profit organizations.
Media Contact: Clare Cameron – 0419 626 155