ACOSS welcomes statutory definition as first step to a truly modern approach to charity

The Australian Council of Social Service has welcomed the passage of the Charities Bill 2013 through the Federal parliament.

ACOSS Deputy CEO Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine said, “ACOSS welcomes the enshrining of the definition of charity in statute as an important step, in setting a clear, reliable definition of charity.”

“Charities constitute the most economically significant part of the not-for-profit sector, which comprises 5% of GDP and 8% of employment in Australia. Clarity in the definition of charity and its consequent regulation is vital for the effectiveness of the over 57,000 registered charities in Australia and ACOSS has long called for a definition to be legislated,” she continued.

“Until this reform, the definition of charity relied on over 400 years of caselaw. While the community’s notions of what is charitable have changed significantly in that time, the taxation structures that show society’s support for charitable work have struggled to keep pace with this change.

“While this reform does not broaden the access to tax concessions that leave many charities still struggling, it is a critical first step.

“ACOSS congratulates both the Government and the Greens, whose support was critical, for this legislation. It is the latest piece of an important reform agenda to ensure that our charities and not-for-profit organisations are given the support they need to provide effective support in turn for the millions of Australians who rely upon them,” Dr Boyd-Caine said.

Media Contact: Fernando de Freitas 0419 626 155

See ACOSS Submission to Exposure Draft Charities Bill 2013 – May 2013