ACOSS response to Government’s plans for ACNC

Dr Cassandra Goldie, ACOSS CEO, said:

“In 2010 the Productivity Commission conducted the most comprehensive assessment of the contribution of Australia’s non-profit organisations and what was needed to sustain their effectiveness. It’s major recommendation in this respect was for a national regulator. This recognised that regulation of charities should not be confined to the assessment of tax status under the ATO, but needs also to incorporate charitable activities and purpose. The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission was established to meet this aim.

“The PC also recommended a Centre for Sector Effectiveness as a separate but important vehicle to promote the role and value of our charities. While ACOSS welcomes the Government’s commitment to a National Centre for Excellence, this cannot replace effective regulation.”

Having previously indicated its intention to abolish the ACNC, the Government has now announced it will replace the national regulator with a US-based model that evaluates charities based on league tables.

Dr Goldie said, “We are unclear why the Government would use a US style league table when the PC did not propose this. A simple league rating system which fails to tell the full story could be the beginning of the end for many great Australian charities. Indeed, in the US the call is now to have a proper national regulator, which we already have.

“Australia’s charitable and non-profit sector constitutes 5% of GDP and 8% of employment and its growing. To support this vital sector, we need to develop a greater understanding of the diversity of our charities and the significant value they produce, much of which comes from small, locally-based and supported community organisations. This is particularly important for funders, including governments and philanthropists, to have real choice about who they want to support.”

See Pro Bono story: ‘Charity Navigator’ Model Tipped to Replace ACNC – Wednesday, January 28, 2014