I am thrilled to see such a great representation of charities to launch the 2015 Australian Charities Report.
As only the third Australian Charities Report, it is great to see the increased transparency in the sector that wasn't possible before the establishment of the ACNC.
And with the 2015 report being only the second report to analyse charity financial information, the public can compare charity changes over time, to make the most informed decision on their charity of choice.
For policy makers, it shines a light on the sector and the ACNC, providing clarity to maintain and nurture the thriving charity sector.
We understand and appreciate the integral work of Australia's 54,600 charities.
This work happens on a national level with the most renowned charities.
Also on a very local level, with small independent charities operating in almost every city, town, suburb and region Australia wide.
We understand charities form vital part of Australia's fabric, not just in providing a helping hand for those in need, but also a diverse array of community services, from educating to firefighting, researching to surf lifesaving.
The 2015 Australian Charities Report provides a single location for charity information, and in doing so, demonstrating the sheer size of the charity sector.
With annual revenue of $134 billion, of which $122.8 billion was spent on charitable purposes, the charity sector equates to 8.3 percent of Australia's GDP.
1.2 million people - or 10 per cent of Australia's work force, is employed by charities with another 3 million Australians providing volunteer work for a registered charity.
Charities touch every person and every part of Australia. From those who are there in the times of Australians' most need to those who use their spare time and resources to give back to their community and their country, charities really are, a vital part of Australian life.
This just goes to show that along with social and community services delivered by charities, they also deliver an enormous economic benefit, a real win-win for Australia as a whole.
It also demonstrates the scale of the charity sector and the need for the ACNC to help the public make the most informed decision for their individual requirements.
- The ACNC is also tasked to protect and enhance trust and confidence in the sector;
- ensuring the sector is effective; and
- reduce regulation where possible to allow charities to spend more time administering their services, instead of filling out paperwork.
The ACNC also helps charities understand and meet their obligations and helps the public understand the work of the not for profit sector.
A tangible way the ACNC is delivering on these tasks is through the development of the ACNC Registered Charity Tick.
After listening to feedback from the sector, the ACNC developed the symbol to quickly and easily show that the recipient is;
- registered with the ACNC;
- is meeting their obligations; and
- further charity information is easily available on the ACNC website.
More than 6,000 charities have received the Registered Charity Tick since mid-December to display to the public.
This is a very positive step towards sector transparency and the ACNC working towards its objectives.
The Government has committed to working with the ACNC to continue to remove red tape and increase accountability and transparency.
This will include working with the ACNC, States and Territories and the charity sector to identify areas where we can remove duplication.
I am pleased to report there is progress in this area.
- South Australia has passed legislation that harmonises requirements with the ACNC.
- Tasmania has also passed legislation for its incorporated associations that harmonises with the ACNC and the ACT has committed to do so.
In the future, we hope that charities operating across state borders will only be required to report to the ACNC, as opposed to both the ACNC and state government bodies as is required currently.
This will remove significant duplication to free up charities to get on with their very important main business.
The story of charities in our country is as vast as Australia itself.
No matter the community or the need, a charity is there to showcase the best of Australia.
The Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, along with the Australian Government, knows this to be absolutely true.
I commend the ACNC on the delivery of the third Charities Report and I look forward to digesting the information within.