From July next year, when charities complete their annual information statement they will be given the option to include a more accurate description of what they do at a program level.
Dr Gary Johns said the aim behind the initiative was that anyone visiting the ACNC website would be able to find a “richer menu” of information, beyond the name and credentials of a charity.
“At the moment when I read the answers to the question of their activities they don’t tell me a lot. They are written in a way that it is impossible to compare charity with charity,” Johns said.
“I am in the camp that says I don’t think we need new regulations or standards, we just need good information, so that people who are interested can make their decisions,” he said.
But some in the sector have questioned whether there is a market for the new marketplace.
Overseas evidence has suggested that when it comes to giving it is not a market based decision, donors are ruled by their hearts rather than their heads.
Krystian Seibert told Pro Bono News he questioned the premise of the Charity Marketplace initiative.
“It also needs to be remembered that the ACNC was not established to primarily be a donor information service, and that providing information on charities is only one part of its various responsibilities.”
It comes as Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities, and Electoral Matters Zed Seselja confirmed the government was developing a response to the ACNC review.
Senator Seselja told attendees at the Annual ACNC Regulatory Conference he wanted to hear from the charity sector the areas that were causing the most concern.
“I have heard a number of messages, but if I were to collate them into three consistent messages: you want a reduction in red tape for the sector so you can focus your resources on serving the community; you want to enhance transparency in the sector to build public trust and confidence; and you want the government to support a steadfast, independent and effective ACNC,” Seselja said.
“I can assure you these three themes will be the foundation of the reform agenda for the sector over the term of this government.”
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