Non-Profit Reforms to Help Community Sector get on with Vital Work of Helping Australians

9 August 2010

ACOSS has welcomed the announcement that a re-elected Labor Government would support the non-profit sector by establishing an Office for the Non-Profit Sector, a scoping study for a national non-profit regulator and reducing red tape on contracts.

“Today’s announcement is an endorsement of the Government’s support for a sustainable and innovative non-profit sector,” said Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service.

“Australia’s vibrant non-profit sector is a vital source of support for people who need help. Last year community services helped 6.5 million Australians. Community organisations help people with disabilities, they assist people find emergency housing; and help young people find skills and training.

“ACOSS has long-advocated for the establishment of a national regulator to guide the activities of the non-profit sector which contributes $43 billion to our economy and employs 8 per cent of the workforce. The Government’s announcement of a ‘one-stop-shop’ model would be a welcome base from which to undertake much-needed reforms in this area.

“The scoping study to determine the feasibility of the regulator is a great first step to refine the best model for regulation of the sector. The effectiveness of the regulator will depend on the extent to which it has the confidence and support of the sector and ensuring input into the scoping study is an important move.

“The value and comprehensive of the Productivity Commission study demonstrates the need for ongoing approaches to measurement of the contribution of the sector and we welcome this direction in policy.”

ACOSS has also supported the establishment of a Standard Chart of Accounts as the first step towards the reduction of red tape agenda.

“Reducing red tape will help both large and small organisations who struggle with the inconsistencies, complexities and confusing elements of regulation of in their activities,” said Dr Goldie.

While effective regulation and good evaluation provide opportunities to improve the structure and outcomes of the non-profit sector, ACOSS continues to advocate for sustainable and adequate funding of social services and community sector organisations, including decent wages for the vital services they perform.

We encourage the Coalition to undertake a similar commitment to policies that will allow the community sector be strong, sustainable and independent.

Media Contact: Clare Cameron, ACOSS – 0419 626 155