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Vibrant charities sector on alert

Date published: Friday 8 December 2017

Category(ies): News

This week saw the launch of the annual Australian Charities Report, along with two announcements that have alarmed the sector about the Government's future intentions.

The Australian Charities Report 2016 paints a picture of a thriving charities sector of more than 52,000 registered charities. Revenue has increased by 6% over the previous year, and the sector is staying sustainable by spending less than its income. Donations income was down about 7% from the previous year.

There is concern within the charities sector about the Government's announcement on Monday about legislation to tighten regulation of political donations from overseas. The bill was introduced in the lower house yesterday. A coalition of organisations (including the Human Rights Law Centre, ACFID and ACOSS) have commenced a campaign seeking an exemption for registered charities from the bill.

On the final sitting day of Parliament, the Government announced the appointment of a new ACNC Commissioner. Former ALP parliamentarian, Gary Johns, has been a well-known critic of the charities sector and his appointment has caused alarm among charities. The Community Council of Australia CEO, David Crosbie called the appointment "bizarre" while the head of the Australian Council for International Development Marc Purcell said that it "displays a contempt by the government for Australia's charities".

The Government also announced streamlined arrangements for managing and regulating Tax Deductible Gift Recipient status. This move was proposed during a Treasury consultation in August, and was generally welcomed by organisations who made submissions, including Baptist Care Australia.