Labor thinks not-for-profit sector shouldn’t exist

Media Release

The Hon Kevin Andrews MP
Shadow Minister for Families, Housing and Human Services

Sunday 1 September 2013

Desperation has now seen Labor launch a scare campaign about the not-for-profit sector. The Coalition released its policy over a year ago and it seems Labor has now caught up with our plan to cut red tape and make life for the sector easier.

 

Today’s statement by the Attorney-General and Assistant Treasurer, both of whom didn’t turn up to the National Press Club debate about the future of the not-for-profit sector, shows either a total incompetence in understanding the sector, or a wilful attempt to mislead it.

 

The truth is, Labor would prefer if the not-for-profit sector didn’t even exist.

 

Doug Cameron, speaking at the NPC debate, let the cat out of the bag with what Labor’s plan for the not-for-profit sector is, saying: “I’d like to have a position where probably your sector doesn’t need to exist.”

 

The facts are:

1.      The Coalition’s intention to replace the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission with a smaller body, more focussed on providing support for the sector, rather than imposing more red tape was first announced over a year ago. The ACNC has added unnecessary duplication to the sector and has not reduced reporting requirements – it has added to them.

2.      The Coalition voted in favour of abolishing ‘gag clauses’ from contracts with the charities sector and would not introduce them if elected.

3.      The Coalition has announced our policy for the charitable and not-for-profit sector, including a considerable reduction of red tape for family and community service agencies.

 

For those agencies, a Coalition government would:

·                     implement one contract with each agency, instead of multiple contracts;

·                     require the Department to negotiate the content of the contracts with the agencies, instead of simply imposing it upon them;

·                     simplify the auditing process to require only one financial report from each agency annually;

·                     replace the current system of rolling audits with an initial benchmarking audit that has a period of five years;

·                     simplify reporting requirements for governance arrangements, with registration as a company or unincorporated association sufficing as evidence of appropriate governance;

·                     require all agencies to lodge a one-page ‘annual governance return’;

·                     replace the current time-consuming and costly system of data collection with a series of cross-sector evaluations of programs; and

·                     work with the sector to ensure adequate and known whistleblower provisions are in place.

 

Unlike Labor we have a plan and unlike Labor we believe the sector plays an important role in our community. The government should be of service to civil society, it should not be trying to shut it down.