MONDAY, SPETEMBER 4, 2017

Bill Shorten is the first leader of either major party to create a specific portfolio for the Charities and Not-for-Profits sector.

Labor made this commitment to the sector because we recognise government has an obligation to nurture the unique role of organisations that so closely respond to the needs and ideals of our communities.

Charities play a vital role across the country and the sector has earned a high level of public trust.

Charities need a regulatory framework that gives the Australian public confidence to support the sector, but doesn’t require the unnecessary diversion of organisational resources from their core work.

This is why the former Labor government created the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, and it’s why we fought so hard against the Coalition’s attempts to dismantle it.

Labor set up the charities commission to ensure charities and not-for-profits could spend less time on compliance and reporting and more time on their core purpose – be that informing the community on conservation and the environment, supporting vulnerable Australians or building stronger communities.

Some of the government’s reform proposals, such as the requirement that environmental charities spend a set amount of resources on remediation, reflect an ongoing attempt to constrain the activities of charities and to limit their capacity to participate in public discourse.

Through the submission phase of the government’s consultation on tax deductibility, Labor has listened closely to concerns registered by the sector.

Labor will not support changes to the tax deductibility regime that would increase reporting burdens or place new constraints on the capacity of charities to advocate and act on behalf of the Australian community.