Charities commission is working to clean up the sector

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission has revoked the charity status of over 240 not-for-profits this month, proving what a great job it is doing in promoting transparency and accountability within the charity sector. This is further evidence that the commission should be retained, not scrapped as the Coalition government is working to do.

MEDIA RELEASE

CHARITIES COMMISSION IS WORKING TO CLEAN UP SECTOR

The Coalition’s plan to abolish the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission has again been revealed as folly, following news the commission has revoked the charity status of more than 240 organisations and is moving towards de-registering over 3,500 more.

The Coalition Government is trying to abolish the commission for ideological reasons. But these de-registrations prove that the regulator is keeping an effective eye on charity activity around Australia. 

The de-registered charities include religious organisations, trusts and foundations from every state and territory. The commission de-registered these groups after they failed to respond to multiple requests for up-to-date information about their activities and financial status.

Importantly, the loss of charity status means that these organisations will no longer be eligible for generous tax concessions or deductable status for donations, if they are still operating. 

By de-registering not-for-profits which fail to meet their reporting requirements, the commission is ensuring that Australians can donate to other registered charities with confidence.

Just as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission engenders confidence by corporate investors, so too a strong charities commission encourages Australians to donate to good causes.

The government is attempting to abolish the charities commission and return some of its functions to the Australian Tax Office. But with that agency set to lose 3,000 workers by October this year, it is highly unlikely that its already-stretched staff will be able to provide the same level of oversight as the charities commission currently offers.

With the government’s flimsy consultation process on replacement options for the commission closing today, it is time for Kevin Andrews to acknowledge that it is actually doing great work and drop his ill-advised plan to axe it.   

The not-for-profit sector has overwhelmingly indicated support for retaining the charities commission, with over 88 per cent of submissions to a recent Senate inquiry calling on the government not to scrap it. 

In a 2013 survey, four out of five charities supported keeping the commission, while only 6 per cent liked the Government's idea of returning the regulation of charities to the Australian Taxation Office. In an open letter to the Prime Minister earlier this year, more than 40 charities -- including Lifeline, the Myer Foundation, the RSPCA, the McGrath Foundation, Volunteering Australia, YWCA Australia and Wesley Mission Australia -- called on the Government to keep the charities commission.

WEDNESDAY, 20 AUGUST 2014

MEDIA CONTACT: Jennifer Rayner 0428 214 856


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