Australia’s not-for-profit sector is large and diverse and plays an important role in building a productive and inclusive Australia. Made up of entities that are neither commercial nor government, the sector plays a central role in enriching communities, culturally, socially, economically and environmentally and most importantly, provides assistance and support to the most vulnerable in our community.
There are an estimated 600,000 entities in the not-for-profit sector which contribute around $43 billion to the economy of Australia making it larger than the communications industry, agriculture or tourism. The majority of these are small unincorporated neighbourhood groups or associations that provide support for and wellbeing in the community.
Around 10% of the not-for-profit sector is termed ‘economically significant’ meaning they employ staff or access tax concessions. These entities provide around 8% per cent of employment in Australia (around 900,000 people) and make up over 4% of GDP. Over 6 million Australians volunteer each year contributing more than $14.6 billion in unpaid work.
Reforms to strengthen the not-for-profit sector are being implemented as part of the social inclusion agenda which is a whole-of-government approach to providing opportunities for all Australians to participate in the life of the nation. The not-for-profit sector reforms are focused on smarter regulation, reducing red tape, building better relationships and increasing social investment and volunteering. By removing undue strain on resources, barriers are removed that restrict the sector’s ability to fulfil its potential, expanding the opportunities available to everyone and strengthening resilience and responsibility.