The government has begun consultations with the charity sector, starting with a series of town hall meetings this week.
The ‘Building Community’ roundtables are in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth this week, then in Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Canberra and Darwin. The government said it plans to set up meetings in regional and rural areas.
Assistant minister for competition, charities and treasury Andrew Leigh accused the previous government of neglecting the sector
“Their nine years of neglect and undermining of the sector prompted a succession of open letters from the charity sector calling on successive Liberal prime ministers to back off their attacks on charities. Charities even wrote to the United Nations,” the minister said.
Leigh referred to an incident last year which saw 12 charities writing to the United Nations special rapporteurs over a proposal to amend charitable governance standards. The proposal involved charities being deregistered if they were involved in summary offences such as trespassing or vandalism.
The same alliance — Hands Off Our Charities — welcomed the new government when it came to power.
“In the new Australian Government, charities have a true partner. Labor respects the role of charities, and wants to empower them to help the community. We will continue to work collaboratively with charities to reconnect Australia,” Leigh continued in a media statement.
The news comes following the resignation of commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Gary Johns, which the minister welcomed. Leigh said putting Johns in charge of the commission was “like putting Scott Morrison in charge of ensuring safety of kids”.
Deborah Jenkins is currently the acting commissioner, with a recruitment process underway.
Australian charities need ‘tailored’ government support to survive, report says
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