The National Press Club held a NFP Forum as part of its Election 2016 Program yesterday. I went along and heard Senator Zed Seselja from the Coalition, Dr Andrew Leigh from the ALP and Senator Rachel Siewert talk about the NFP sector and the accepted, appreciated and valued (by all) significant impact the sector, and peak agencies within the sector, have on Australian life.
The Coalition want to be part of an agenda that ensures the NFP is more sustainable and more effective. They say they do this by supporting the Community Sector Business Partnerships, by ensuring 5 year funding for services is a continuing trend, by keeping the ACNC, by focusing on red-tape reduction, by committing to the Data Exchange framework and by committing to the longitudinal ‘actuarial investment’ model to ensure that outcomes are achieved. The Senator was very aligned to some of the messaging we heard from Minister Porter when he spoke at SEF earlier this year. Senator Seselja also highlighted the Coalition’s Commitment to the ‘Prepare, Trial, Hire’ scheme for young people that was a feature of the Federal Budget this year.
The ALP want to invigorate the conversation about social capital. Dr Leigh himself has written extensively about the growing inequality in Australian society and the impact that this is having on our community. People are less engaged in the community and community based organisations and in the end he says there is an erosion of community life. The ALP did launch their NFP Election Policy platform on 6 June which Dr Leigh also referred to in his speech. Some of the key points included a Labor pledge to scrap the Coalition’s community grants program, re-invigorate a national compact, support a one-stop-shop national regulator, reduce red tape and duplication, continue to support ACNC, support open data, support volunteers and engage proactively with the charities and Not-for-Profit sector.
Senator Siewert has always been a strong advocate for the Not for Profit Sector. She is firm in her view that it is the Not for Profit Sector that drives change and innovation. The Greens have committed to engaging with the NFP sector, longer-term contracts, minimum notice periods, support for the continued funding of advocacy organisations, access to Open Data (acknowledging some in the sector may need support to access and analyse data) and ensuring greater transparency and understanding about DGR & PBI Status (who gets it and who does not). She believes it is her role as a minor party representative to give voice to those who may not be able to access the halls of political power and persuasion through other means.
It is great to see such a solid commitment from all three parties to the sector and the work that we do. We look forward to building on this commitment post the election on 2 July.