MEDIA RELEASE - Zero public consultation as Govt prepares to scap Charities Commission - Friday 28 February

Last Friday, I issued a media release about my concerns that Minister Kevin Andrews has little regard for the views and experiences of charities who overwhelmingly want to keep the ACNC.
ANDREW LEIGH MP

SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER

SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION

MEMBER FOR FRASER

MEDIA RELEASE

Friday, 28 February 2014

ZERO CONSULTATION AS GOVERNMENT PREPARES TO SCRAP CHARITIES COMMISSION

Senate Estimates hearings this week confirm that the Abbott Government’s promise to consult charities about its plans to abolish the charities regulator is hollow.

Minister Kevin Andrews promised charities a discussion paper on the future of the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission by the end of January and a formal consultation process beginning this month.

It’s the end of February and nothing has happened.

The Minister has stopped listening and does not care to listen.

A survey of the charitable sector found that four in five people support the ACNC. Yet those members of the sector that have written to Minister Andrews supporting the ACNC have been given short shrift.

Morale among the ACNC’s highly specialised and committed staff is suffering.

The Senate Economics Committee was told of a higher than usual attrition rate and how uncertainty about the ACNC’s future is impacting its 100 staff.

Senator Louise Pratt: Why have you lost staff over the recent period?

David Locke (Assistant Commissioner for Charities Services): Obviously there is uncertainty regarding the future of the agency, which is unsettling and difficult for staff.

The Committee also heard that the ATO is preparing to transition for the axing of the ACNC before any repeal legislation and take over some of the regulator functions of the ACNC.

This is a slap in the face for thousands of Australian charities that do not want the ATO to resume responsibility for the sector.

It is astonishing that this Government should talk about the need for transparency and accountability and yet seeks to abolish a first-rate agency that supports public confidence in the integrity of charities.

ENDS

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