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Estimates confirms findings of red tape report, as major Departments refuse charities passport

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 23 Oct 2014

The Australian Greens said today that Senate Estimates had confirmed reports that the majority of red tape faced by Australia's not for profit sector is caused by the Government itself.

"The Federal Government tries to paint the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission as a burden on the sector, but the clear reality is that Government grants acquittal processes cause the most red tape," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on family and community services said today.

"Although this isn't all bad, as accountability is important, as are some of the other requirements of Government processes, steps should be taken to lessen the burden on the sector.

"Estimates hearings have confirmed the findings of Ernst & Young's Commonwealth Regulatory and Reporting Burdens research report, which undertook case studies of 15 charities and found that the average annual burden imposed by ACNC reporting obligations was just 0.1% per cent of total annual burden faced by operators, costing about $150 a year.

"By comparison, the burden of reporting to the Commonwealth Government during the 2012/13 financial year was $18,000 for small charities and $235,000 for large ones.

"It is ridiculous for the Government to continue to say the ACNC causes red tape when clearly it doesn't and is helping charities.

"Estimates has also revealed that the two departments with some of the highest interactions with charities and the not for profit sector have not signed up to the Charities Passport.

"The passport helps reduce red tape for charities in their dealings with the Government, and yet both the Department of Social Services and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, which handles programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, have not signed up to this system.

"Both Departments should stop undermining charities and the not-for-profit sector by failing to engage with the ACNC and sign up to this process.

"The ACNC will be reporting on red tape reduction in their annual report very shortly.

"The ACNC is supported by the vast majority of Australia's charity and not for profit sector, it is reducing red tape and offering high quality governance and oversight. Government should abandon its attempt to repeal the ACNC and get behind the work it does" Senator Siewert concluded.


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