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Government Action:
Charities shake-up on the way
James Massola
The Australian
August 09, 2010


Labor has announced ambitious plans to shake up the not-for-profit sector

Assistant Treasurer Nick Sherry has announced Labor plans to reform the $43 billion not-for-profit sector by creating three new regulatory government agencies if is re-elected.

Not-for-profits have waited six months for the government to respond to the Productivity Commissionís report on the sector, which was released in February.

Under plans announced this morning, Labor will:

  • establish an office for the not-for-profit sector inside the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet;
  • set up a "one stop" charities regulator to streamline accounting and reporting processes;
  • found an arms-length not for profit reform council.

Capital Circle asked last month if the government had plans to respond during the campaign.

Senator Sherry rejected suggestions the government had dragged its feet on responding to the Productivity Commissionís report, saying there had been five reports on the sector handed to government in 15 years and nothing had changed.

"Australia is one of the last countries to sort through this and I donít think six months is undue time," he said.

"There are 600,000 not-for-profit organisations in the sector and just in terms of the monetary value, itís worth $43 billion dollars, $15 billion of wage equivalent time."

He said the reforms would be in place by the middle of next year if Labor is re-elected.

Charities and not-for-profits were relieved when Treasurer Wayne Swan ruled out changes to the tax treatment of charities following the release of the Henry Review in May.

The reforms have been welcomed by the Catholic Social Services Australia.

Executive director Frank Quinlan said the changes would clear away red tape and make streamline contractual arrangement for charities that tender for government contracts.



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