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Charities Community Organisations Associations

Henry Review: ACOSS calls for independent commission to regulate NFPs

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ACOSS welcomed the Federal Government’s release of the report on Australia’s Future Tax System (otherwise known as the Henry Review), saying that it set a framework for a fairer, more sustainable tax system for the Australian community.

CEO of ACOSS Clare Martin said that the assurance from Government that it will not support any changes to tax concessions that will harm community services organisations was particularly important.

However, ACOSS also said that it was disappointed that a number of the review’s recommendations did not recieve a mention in the Government’s agenda for Australia’s Future Tax System.

In anticipation of the budget release on Tuesday 11 May, ACOSS called on the Government to implement the reforms mentioned in the Henry Review that have not yet been addressed.

Of particular relevance to not-for-profit organisations is the recommendation to establish a new national, independent commission to regulate the not-for-profit sector.

Martin said “Australia’s diverse and vibrant non-profit sector adds $43 billion to our economy and employs 8 per cent of workers.”

She said that this important economic contribution requires national oversight by an independent body.

“Currently the regulatory framework is unco-ordinated at Commonwealth and state/territory levels, making it complex and costly for organisations to meet their reporting requirements,” Martin said.

“While there have been strong recommendations from both the Henry Report and Productivity Commission to establish a national Charities Commission to oversee not-for-profit regulation, we are disappointed this has not yet been adopted by Government.”

Operating as a ‘one-stop shop’ for regulation, the regulator would oversee tax concessions, submission of corporate and financial information, and register national fundraising activities. The regulator would also modernise the definition of a charity, which accoring to ACOSS, is currently based on an outdated, irrelevant definition.

ACOSS has also released two evaluation papers which focus on social security reform and the tax agenda respectively, and how they relate to the proposals from ACOSS, the Henry Review recommendations and the Government’s response.

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