ACNC data provides first comprehensive picture of charity sector - 24 September 2014

The Curtin Charities 2013 Report gives the first comprehensive, evidence-based analysis of Australian charities and reveals previously unknown facts about the sector. The analysis was drawn from 38 341 Annual Information Statements submitted by charities in their first year of reporting to the ACNC (up to 30 June 2014). It provides the first single-source, evidence-based research of the charity sector of its kind.

ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe AM said the Curtin Charities 2013 Report was valuable for anyone wanting to understand more about the charity sector, from the general public and charitable organisations, to researchers and policy makers.

“The research shows the Australian charity sector is one of breadth and diversity. At one end, the minority of large charities command a substantial proportion of resources such as paid staff, volunteers and income, while at the other end, the vast majority of charities are small, volunteer-based organisations,' said Ms Pascoe.

The collection and analysis of these first Annual Information Statements provide the foundation for future research and greater understanding about the charity sector. A sector that has a combined total income of more than $100 billion, employs nearly 1 million people and manages around 2 million volunteers.

Curtin University Not-for-profit Initiative Director and Curtin Charities 2013 Report co-author Professor David Gilchrist said the charity sector was a large and extremely important part of the economy, and policy should be developed recognising this.

“Charities are instrumental to the capacity of governments in implementing policy and delivering services in key areas; particularly in health, aged care, disability services, education and housing. All Australians are affected in one way, shape or form by the work of charities and a strong and sustainable charity sector benefits everyone,” Prof Gilchrist said.

“We need tactical approaches to the development of policies that use an evidence- based approach to identifying the issues and needs of individual sub-groups. A hospital with 1,000 beds is nothing like a small religious group or a volunteer fire brigade.”

Meanwhile the Government pushes ahead with plans to disband the ACNC.  See CCA commentary in our CCA News, Spring edition.

Those interested in a pointed satirical look at the plan to abolish the ACNC, view the ABC’s ‘The Roast’ episode of 24 September (available online until 8 Oct).