SENATOR DEAN SMITH
LIBERAL SENATOR FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION,
CHARITIES AND TREASURY
23 January 2024
RADICAL LABOR IR CHANGES THREATEN CHARITIES
Thousands of jobs in Australia’s charity sector risk being plunged into uncertainty thanks to Labor’s industrial relations agenda.
As reported in The Australian newspaper this week, the Albanese Government’s attack on fixed-term contracts will have very real consequences for the more than 60,000 registered charities across the country that deal in short, often transitory, funding arrangements.
David Crosbie, CEO of the Community Council of Australia, raised the alarm on broader impacts for the sector in Monday’s article.
Mr Crosbie said restricting fixed-term contracts would burden charities with the extra costs associated with full-time permanent contracts, such as redundancy entitlements.
He said charities were at a greater risk of trading insolvent if they couldn’t use fixed-term contracts to match their funding streams, which typically operate on two-year cycles.
Although its broad impacts will be felt throughout the economy, Labor’s union-led industrial relations crusade is a particularly unwelcome blow to the charities sector.
Coalition Charities spokesman Dean Smith said its essential to remember that charities and not-for-profits employ more than 10% of the country’s workforce, and generate nearly $200 billion in revenue.
“As a result of the indifference of Minister for Charities Andrew Leigh, Labor has done nothing to advance important reforms such a superannuation bequests and more structured tax returns, which were advised by the Productivity Commission more than a year ago,” Senator Smith said.
“Minister Leigh and Labor also twiddled their thumbs for months when it came to appointing new members of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission’s Board.”
Senator Smith said Andrew Leigh needed to stand up against the extreme policy positions of his colleagues for the sake of his portfolio.
“Thousands of jobs in the charity sector are at potential risk – it’s shameful that they can’t rely on the federal Minister for Charities having their back,” Senator Smith said.
“Labor failed to live up to his promise of bold and productive reforms in the national charity space.”
“And, with charities working overtime to support Australians through the cost of living crisis, this is insult to injury.”