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Strengthening the non-profit sector.
Strengthening the nonâprofit sector
Cath Bowtell,Jenny Macklin,Nick Sherry,Ursula Stephens posted Monday, 9 August 2010
A reâelected Gillard Labor Government will drive a major reform agenda for Australia’s nonâprofit sector to deliver smarter regulation, reduce red tape and improve transparency and accountability of the sector. Federal Labor recognises that a strong, productive and innovative nonâprofit sector is essential to building an inclusive Australia. The nonâprofit sector is a key partner in delivering major social policy reforms and in creating opportunities for Australians to participate in work, engage in lifeâlong learning and live with dignity and respect. The nonâprofit sector also enriches communities through sport and recreation, arts and culture, and by protecting the environment and providing emergency services in times of crisis. This historic reform plan, which will reshape the way the Australian Government regulates, supports and funds this critical sector, includes: â¢ A new Office for the NonâProfit Sector within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to drive and coordinate the policy reform agenda supported by a new NonâProfit Sector Reform Council made up of representatives from across the sector. â¢ Immediately commencing a scoping study to determine the role and design options for a national ‘oneâstopâshop’ regulator for the nonâprofit sector to remove the complex regulatory arrangements currently in place and streamline reporting arrangements. The scoping study will be finalised early in 2011 and will guide the reform program. â¢ Greater harmonisation and simplification between the Federal and State and Territory Governments on nonâprofit sector issues, including regulation. â¢ Reducing redâtape for government funded nonâprofit organisations by developing a common form contract or ‘master agreement’ and reviewing tendering, contracting and acquittal arrangements between the Federal Government and nonâprofit organisations to streamline and reduce compliance burden commensurate with risk. Each of these important reforms will occur in close consultation with the dedicated people and organisations that make up the nonâprofit sector.
These reforms are the first step in a longâterm reform agenda that only a Gillard Labor Government will deliver. We want to enable nonâprofit organisations to be able to focus on what they do best - helping Australians in need and boosting hope, participation, dignity and respect in our community. A national regulator would also boost transparency and accountability in the sector so both ordinary Australians and philanthropists can donate money to nonâprofit organisations with more confidence and a greater understanding of how their donations will make a difference. These reforms are in addition to initiatives recently announced to support social innovation and improve access to capital for the sector through the $20 million Social Enterprise Development and Investment Fund , a $7.5 million Community Development Financial Institutions pilot and the first ever Social Innovation Cooperative Research Centre to target research on areas of major social challenge. The nonâprofit sector contributes $43 billion to Australia’s GDP and counts for approximately eight per cent of employment nationally. The sector is made up of around 600,000 organisations, 59,000 of which are deemed to be economically significant. As a community, Australians strongly support the nonâprofit sector with 4.6 million individuals - almost 25 per cent of all Australians - volunteering the wage equivalent of $15 billion of their time annually. Over the last 15 years there have been five major reviews of the nonâprofit sector but the Gillard Labor Government is the first to commit to a reform package and ongoing sector reform process. Federal Labor’s reform plan compares to over a decade of no reform, no innovation and no vision from the former Coalition Government, only review after review followed by no action. Today’s commitments build on the strong record of Federal Labor in supporting both the nonâprofit and philanthropic sectors. Federal Labor moved quickly upon coming to office to remove the former LiberalâNational Coalition Government’s ‘gag’ clauses from Australian Government funding agreements and protect the Fringe Benefit Tax entitlements for community sector workers that the LiberalâNational Coalition was going to cut. Federal Labor has also completely overhauled the private philanthropic funds sector improving transparency, and strengthened the voice of the sector through the National Compact: working together, which now has over 300 signatories. Funding for this reform package will be absorbed by Australian Government departments from within existing departmental resources.
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Tags: charity, nonâprofit, policy, regulation, social