Draft reforms released today by the Productivity Commission will lead to more efficient delivery of services through a reduction in red tape and a lessened compliance burden on social and community services, says the sector’s peak body.
“The Commission’s draft proposals are an excellent first step towards streamlining complex processes so that non-profit organisations can get on with the job of delivering vital services to the community,” said Clare Martin, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service.
“The Commission has recognised the invaluable contribution the non-profit sector makes to Australian society. Community and welfare services play a crucial role in tackling social problems like entrenched disadvantage, unemployment and social exclusion, as well as providing essential policy development and advocacy.”
“The draft recommendations lift barriers faced by non profits so they can achieve more responsive and innovative service outcomes.
“Smart governance practices, reporting and regulation should aid and enhance the operations of non profits not impose onerous burdens.
“ACOSS will be consulting with our sector and we encourage organisations to send their responses to the Commission before 24 November.
“We look forward to working with the Government towards the adoption and implementation of many of these recommendations.”
The Commission commented on the issue of taxation for the non-profit sector, especially the application of Fringe Benefit Tax, but all decisions will be taken within the jurisdiction of the Henry Tax Review.
ACOSS welcomes the draft recommendations including:
- Expanding the application of charitable status to include the broad range of non profit organisations that work towards the goal of social inclusion.
- Respecting the independence and autonomy of not-for-profit organisations while amending onerous reporting requirements associated with government funding.
- Establishing a Registrar for Community and Charitable Purpose Organisations and providing a cohesive national regulatory framework.
- Removing the inconsistencies in taxation and the legal treatment of non-profits.
- Ensuring that agreements (like Compacts between government and the sector) are more than just words through the use of robust mechanisms for implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
- Gathering better data on the non profit sector and making that available to the sector for its own development.
- Actively developing the sector through easing access to capital for social enterprise programs; and increasing funding to cover wages at market rates and legitimate administrative and organisational costs.
- Funding the full the costs of services based on independent assessments of those costs, as well as the reporting and evaluative processes that funders require of the sector.
- Recognising the enhanced capacity and contribution of organisations that are well governed, by providing financial support for training boards and management in the non profit sector.
ACOSS’ annual survey of the community and welfare sector reported assistance was provided to over 3.1 million clients last financial year.
ACOSS’ recommendations to the Productivity Commission’s study into the Contribution of the Not-for-Profit Sector can be read here:
- Submission to the Productivity Commission: Contribution of the NFP Sector (November 2009)
- Submission to the Productivity Commission Study into the Contribution of the Not for Profit Sector (June 2009)
Media contact: Clare Cameron, 0419 626 155