More than 100 not-for-profit organisations have formed a coalition in an effort to fix the sector’s burdensome and inefficient regulatory system.

In an open letter to both state and federal governments, the coalition stated:

“The loss in productivity involved for the thousands of charities who try to meet the requirements of the seven different fundraising regimes amounts to tens of millions of dollars annually.”

“Charities want to do the right thing, but it’s too complex, too confusing and it’s ineffective.”

The coalition identified a solution to this issue as being the implementation of a single, comprehensive regulatory scheme:

“Federal, State and Territory governments can provide charities with one nationally-consistent, modern and fit-for-purpose fundraising regime as part of the current review of the Australian Consumer Law.”

“We need action now so our organisations, and the donors who support us, can operate under a 21st century regulatory regime.”

The current not-for-profit regulatory system is indeed convoluted and inefficient. Each state and territory has its own separate regulatory scheme, thus a charity which operates nation-wide has to comply with more than half a dozen different systems.

The Gillard Government attempted to address this issue in 2012 through the creation of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). However, the ACNC did not reduce the state regulatory systems, and thus has simply added a layer of federal regulation in addition to what already exists from the states.

As the IPA has previously stated on charity regulation:

“Australian charities are being obstructed by red tape because of inconsistency and duplication between state and federal regulators.”

“Charities and volunteerism are defining features of Australia’s culture of generosity, and should be valued and encouraged, not undermined by bureaucracy.”

The IPA supports reform of the not-for-profit sector so that charities can spend less time filling out paperwork, and more time helping those in need.

By Michael Husek