SACOSS has today used the Adelaide presentation of major research into the charities sector to call on the Federal government and Family First Senator Bob Day to reconsider the plan to abolish the national charities regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC).
Curtin University’s major research report shows that the combined turnover of Australian charities reporting to the ACNC was more than $100 billion per year, with a workforce of nearly 1 million people, alongside around 2 million volunteers.
South Australia is home to 8% of the nation’s charities.
One of the key authors of the report, Penny Knight, will present the results of the research at a public meeting in Adelaide this morning.
SACOSS Executive Director, Ross Womersley said,
“This research is a milestone in understanding the charitable sector and clearly shows the importance of it, both in South Australia and nationally.
“Charitable services are a major part of our economy, and SACOSS’ own research from the ACNC database suggests that the community services sector in SA (a subset of the SA charities in the Curtin report) employs over 30,000 South Australians.
“8 percent of South Australian charities have existed for over 100 years, highlighting a clear wealth of local knowledge embodied in the South Australian sector.
"With another 9 percent of listed charities less than five years old there is also clearly no shortage of new ideas and initiatives”.
The data in the Curtin University report gives South Australia, for the first time, an insight into the work and contribution of the sector, which has only been possible because of the increased transparency brought about by the ACNC reporting.
The ACNC is a fairly new regulator, brought into being after a long campaign by charities to have better regulation and a reduction in red tape.
Regulation was previously under the Tax Office, but capacity limitations meant that the ATO did not have an up-to-date list of who was entitled to tax charity concessions.
Mr Womersley continued,
“SACOSS is disappointed that, without listening to the concerns of our sector, the federal government has charged ahead with plans to abolish the ACNC and return regulation to the ATO.
“It would be appalling if the information on the ACNC database was lost; future research like the Curtin University report would not be possible, and worse, we would lose the public accountability and transparency the ACNC reporting has brought, as well as the possibility for major red-tape reduction through having one central regulator.
“We call on the Abbott government to reconsider its plan to abolish the ACNC to return regulation to the ATO.
"We also call for Family First Senator Bob Day to support our sector, back the ACNC, and rethink his support of government legislation for its abolition".