Pro Bono Australia has released the results of its 2014 State of the Sector survey, which shows that the vast majority of charities still back the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission despite the Abbott Government's efforts to scrap it. Here's my release with Senator Claire Moore, the Shadow Minister for Communities, calling on the government to see sense and keep the commission:
SUPPORT FOR THE CHARITIES COMMISSION REMAINS RESOLUTELY STRONG
In a major survey released today, four in every five Australians working in the not-for-profit sector back the charities commission, showing the folly of the Abbott Government’s plans to abolish it.
Pro Bono Australia's national online survey found 82 per cent of respondents believe the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) is important or extremely important for a thriving not-for-profit sector.
This is consistent with the 83 percent of respondents who backed the ACNC in the 2013 survey.
Shadow Communities Minister Claire Moore and Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh, called on the Abbott Government recognise the survey results as yet more evidence that the sector does not support its ideological plans to repeal the ACNC.
"The Coalition has been working for almost a year now to undermine the charities commission, yet can’t dent the robust backing it enjoys across the community sector," said Dr Leigh.
Only 6 per cent of those surveyed agreed with Minister Kevin Andrews that the Australian Tax Office should resume responsibility for regulating charities. That is exactly the same figure as in the 2013 Pro Bono survey.
"In twelve months, the Government has failed to convince any charity or not-for-profit of Mr Andrews ill-conceived plan to tear down this effective agency," Dr Leigh said.
The survey also found that the confidence of the sector has sharply declined since Tony Abbott took office, with a 34 point drop in the Not for Profit Sector Perceived Performance Index.
"It’s not just regulatory uncertainty facing the sector. Many community service providers face turbulent times because of hastily changed funding arrangements and no transition periods across many portfolios," said Senator Moore.
"The Government's half-baked policies are having a damaging impact on the capacity of not-for-profits to deliver services and assist the most disadvantaged people in our community to build better futures. That can only cost us in the long term.
"Labor urges a genuine partnership with the sector, especially now at a time of rising unemployment, as it produces better outcomes for all Australians." Senator Moore said.
*The survey was prepared by Pro Bono Australia and partners, Net Balance Research Institute and the Community Council for Australia, sampled the views of 1250 not-for-profit leaders and managers (including 800 CEOs), staff and volunteers.
THURSDAY, 4 SEPTEMBER 2014
Media CONTACT: JENNIFER RAYNER 0428 214 856 (LEIGH)
TONI HASSAN 0426 207 726 (MOORE)