Australia richer for greater insights into charities and not-for-profits sector - Joint Media Release


Joint media release with Shadow Minister for Communities Claire Moore

Labor welcomes the Australian Charities and Non-for-profits Commission’s release of the Australian Charities report – the commission’s first comprehensive analysis of financial data on the local charity sector.

Labor believes that the charities and the not-for-profits sector is the backbone of Australia’s community life. The commission’s report confirms their enormous contribution, revealing the sector represents $103 billion of activity around the country. Over 2 million people now volunteer with a charity or not-for-profit, and these organisations also employ another 1 million Australians.

The commission’s good work in registering and monitoring charity activity means we now know more about where and how they do good than ever before. For example, the report finds the greatest number of charities are operating in the areas of education, research and health, while religious charities also play a significant role.  

As we come closer to Christmas, the contribution of some charities and not-for-profits will be particularly clear as they support thousands of Australian families with food, shelter and the festive cheer so many of us take for granted.  

The release of this report again underlines the great value of maintaining an active and well-resourced charities regulator. After promising to scrap it in 2013, the Liberals have since taken the confusing stance of allowing the commission to keep operating while never giving any certainty about its future. A bill to abolish the commission remains stuck in the House of Representatives, although it has not be debated since December 2014.   

In September, Scott Morrison told the Philanthropy Meets Parliament summit that the Government had “consulted widely, and there is very strong support for the ACNC.”

Mr Morrison is absolutely right about that.

In the most recent Pro Bono State of the Sector survey, 82 per cent of not-for-profits stated that the commission is important for a thriving charities sector. Furthermore, in June the Senate passed a motion calling on the Government to withdraw its bill to abolish the commission and finally end years of will-they-won’t-they speculation about its future. 

Whilst ever the ACNC abolition bill remains before Parliament, the charities sector has no certainty. Given the commission's ongoing and valuable contribution - which has again been highlighted today by this report - the Government should just withdraw it.  

Labor supports a vibrant and diverse  charities and not-for-profits sector and congratulates them on the vital work deliver every day.

Unfortunately, the charities and non-for-profits sector has seen dramatic cuts and a botched community grants program by the Liberal Government that has put at risk vital services that support vulnerable communities, families and children. 

Labor will continue to work with the sector to ensure proper supports for vulnerable Australians.

Labor will however work with the Government to ensure that any review into the charities and not-for-profits sector is one that will see it become even stronger and more productive in assisting the Australian community.



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