The WA government's shakeup of the public service continues, as the Premier Mark McGowan says he is looking at ways to curb "excessive" payouts to dep
We recently moved our readers to a new system. You may need to reset your password here to login.
Not a member ? Join here for free.
Forgot your password?
Home Features Why Australia needs to rethink the debate on charities
Text size :
The data is in: the Australian charities sector is more diverse and economically important than ever given credit for. It’s time to rethink how we regulate it.
For the first time in Australian history we have a picture of the size, complexity and contribution of the charitable sector. It shows clearly that it is time to rethink the national discussion regarding this incredibly important sector.
Curtin University’s report — Australian Charities 2013 — published in last month is based on our analysis of the Annual Information Statement data provided by charities to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission for the 2013 financial year. It also includes analysis of Australian Taxation Office data from charity Business Activity Statements lodged during the same period. As such, it is the first comprehensive view of the sector.
The data highlights that the sector is extremely diverse and incredibly economically important. It shows that the sector turned over around $100 billion during the 2013 financial year and employed almost 1 million people. Indeed, the sector employs more people than the mining, the automotive and the agricultural industries put together, and is able to leverage 2 million volunteers.
While the turnover reported is significant by any definition, the income of the sector reported is very much a low estimate as the data reviewed did not include donations and a number of other income sources that are not captured by the BAS form. Additionally, the report considers charities only and so any consideration of the broader not-for-profit sector (of which the charitable sector is a subset) will almost certainly mean the income of the sector will be considerably in excess of the $100 billion reported.
Receive unlimited access, get all the latest public sector news and features, plus The Juice, our daily news update sent direct to your inbox.
The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.
Professor David Gilchrist is director of the Curtin Not-for-profit Initiative at the Curtin Business School. He's an accountant and historian and has been assistant auditor-general, standards and quality in Western Australia.
Read Related Content
As government looks to 'three-sector solutions' to tackle wicked problems in public policy, two of those sectors know well the need for change. Not-for-profits are not exempt from change, but government can help by creating a policy environment that rewards social investment.