When the discussion paper that lead to this report landed on my desk last October, I have to confess I was overwhelmed by the size of the report, and underwhelmed by the thought of reading, let alone responding to it. But in light of Senator Joyce’s recent comments about the value of these reports I thought I’d give it another go.
Both the report and the discussion paper are weighty tomes – the report has 441 pages and lxii pages of summary and abstracts. So almost a ream of paper or half to a third of an archive box in the report alone. Is it worth the paper it’s written on? The culture and recreation sector makes up the third largest segment, after environmental organisations and religious instititutions, with the third largest contribution to the economy, and by far the largest number of volunteers – 2,072,300 to social services 1,474,600. These stats alone are something to conjure with.
More than that, the report recommends the establishment of a one stop shop for registration of charities, where information can be obtained once, but used many times. Surely a goal of any good records manager or archivist. How well the report identifies what will be required both by the Registrar and the organisations and individuals involved, is another matter.
If you are concerned about how Australia handles charitable organisations, encourages donations, or just want a really good understanding of the economics of the charitable and not for profit sector, start reading. Copies are available from the Productivity Commission, www.pc.gov.au.