A report into the new charities regulation proposed by Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar has found changes to the sector will cost up to a staggering $150 million.
The independent economic report from ACIL Allen, commissioned by Hands Off Our Charities (HOOC), found the cost to the sector to comply with the new regulation could be as much as:
· $149.9 million in the first year, including $109.5 million in initial, up-front compliance costs, and an additional, ongoing annual expense of $40.4 million.
HOOC Spokesperson Ray Yoshida described it as an unwarranted burden on charities which will stifle free speech and affect vital services.
“This new report outlines the extraordinary red-tape burden the Morrison Government is imposing on charities that provide vital services to vulnerable people including, emergency food relief, family violence support and mental health assistance,” Mr Yoshida said.
“These charities have been on the frontline during the COVID pandemic, supporting those who need it most. These oppressive regulations do nothing to help the charity sector in this time of crisis.”
“Not only will these changes crack down on the free speech of charities across Australia, the burdensome red-tape will affect service delivery.”
“As charities and not-for-profits, it’s our members’ job to advocate for people without a voice. These regulations will have a chilling effect on the sector as charities will be too scared to speak out for fear of being deregistered.”
The Government’s new regulation, which Prime Minister Morrison’s own Senators are against, grants the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission power to investigate and deregister any group for minor offences committed not just by the charity in question but by other individuals or entities that are only loosely connected with the charity.
A recent report by a Liberal chaired Senate oversight committee questioning these new anti-charity regulations is further proof that the regulations go too far and should be disallowed.
“The Benevolent Society is one of Australia’s first charities, advocating for people and communities for more than 200 years. We need regulations in place that enable charitable organisations to grow and have long-lasting futures so we can support as many vulnerable Australians as possible. We want to be around for another 200 years and beyond.” said Lin Hatfield Dodds, CEO, The Benevolent Society.
“We are strongly opposed to these proposed changes that limit freedom of speech by people working in the not-for-profit sector.
“Providing the best quality support to our clients and keeping our people employed is our absolute priority. This is at risk if regulations that bring additional costs and complexities to our operations are introduced.”
Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) has more than 500 members providing frontline services to Queenslanders every day.
QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh says the costs and limits imposed by the new regulations are unacceptable.
“On any given day, almost 150,000 Queenslanders go to work in more than 5,000 charities serving our communities. The essential work of community services is supported by more than 324,000 volunteers across the state.
“All our resources are directed towards helping Queenslanders. Services such as community health, domestic and family violence prevention, community and neighbourhood centres, community housing and disability and aged care are provided by charities.
“Additional costs and red tape will ultimately result in cuts to essential services and less support for people when they need it the most.”
Senators will have the opportunity to disallow the Government’s regulation when Parliament resumes in October.