Labor's plan for charities: sector support - Media Release

LABOR’S PLAN FOR CHARITIES: SECTOR SUPPORT  

A Shorten Labor Government will have Australia’s first ever Charities Minister, who will fix the damage done by six years of Liberals and Nationals’ chaos and work with the nation’s not-for-profits to build a more connected country.  

Labor will guarantee the right of charities to advocate, and deliver a stronger and more productive charities and not-for-profit sector by establishing a Not-for-profit Sector Expert Reference Panel and ‘Building Community - Building Capacity’ Working Group. 

We need real change, because more of the same isn’t good enough. Many in the sector agree and have voiced their support for Labor’s plans. 

“This vital sector has been treated with contempt over the past six years, enduring policies that seemed designed to crush civil society and the ACNC, and successive waves of disinterested and incompetent presiding ministers and parliamentary secretaries. We welcome and eagerly await the opportunity to replace the top-down, far-right-wing agenda that has predominated in recent years with one of respect and authentic engagement.” 

- Denis Moriarty, Our Community Founder and Group Managing Director 

“This package of reforms are welcome. Labor has consulted extensively and listened to the sector’s concerns on advocacy, fundraising laws and how the data it gives to government is used.” 

- Sue Woodward, Head of Not-for-Profit Law at Justice Connect 

“Today’s announcement by Labor is vital for our sector and all those we support. The purpose of charities and not-for-profits is to address gross inequality within societies, but this cannot be done without significant investment.  A strong and vibrant charities sector performs an essential check and balance function for Australian civil society, and ensures those children and families living on the margins have a voice.  We are particularly pleased that Labor plans to amend the Charities Act and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act to clarify the public benefit of advocacy as a charitable purpose.” 

- Mat Tinkler, Acting CEO, Save the Children  

“Volunteering Australia is pleased that the ALP is committed to strengthening the charity sector, with three-quarters of the charitable sector workforce comprised of voluntary labour… Today’s announcement will allow for better support for the 3 million Australians who volunteer formally in the charitable sector and the millions more who are volunteering to support not-for-profit causes. It will also ensure strategic and sustainable sector development and will further amplify the efforts already being achieved by our diverse sector.” 

- Adrienne Picone, CEO, Volunteering Australia  

“When it comes to reforming fundraising regulation in Australia, the time for talk is over, so it’s great to see a commitment to immediately start the reform process should the Australian Labor Party win the election.” 

- Sarah Davies, CEO, Philanthropy Australia  

“Public debate in Australia is heavily influenced by well-resourced interests. These powerful voices often dominate, and communities and groups affected by poverty, disadvantage and marginalisation often struggle to be heard, have few resources, and can be subjected to intimidation. This announcement ensures that advocacy by community organisations is recognised and better protected, and we wholeheartedly welcome it.” 

- Cassandra Goldie, CEO, ACOSS  

“A thriving democracy needs an informed public debate with a range of voices. Community organisations have enormous expertise to contribute, drawn from the work they do, whether it’s running a homeless shelter or protecting the environment. Today’s announcement is a welcome step towards recognition and legal protection of that contribution.” 

- Emily Howie, Legal Director, Human Rights Law Centre 

“We welcome this announcement by Andrew Leigh because it is a step towards making sure charities can continue to play this vital role in Australia’s democracy and the protection of the environment.” 

- Kelly O'Shanassy, Executive Director, Australian Conservation Foundation 

“It is great to see a potential incoming government announcing policies that will improve the capacity of charities to serve their communities… Charities turn over more than $140 billion, are the heartbeat of our communities, and just like business, they need increased certainty and support if they are to invest in their services and improve outcomes for the people they serve.  CCA welcomes these announcements and looks forward to working with a dedicated Charities Minister should the ALP form government after the election.” 

- David Crosbie, CEO, Community Council for Australia  

This election is a choice between Labor’s plans to back the organisations that give a voice to the voiceless and make our communities stronger, or three more years of cuts and chaos under the Liberals.   

End the chaos.  Vote for change.  Vote for Labor.  

ENDS

Authorised by Noah Carroll ALP Canberra.


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Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | Andrew.Leigh.MP@aph.gov.au | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.