National compact between the Australian Government and the third sector - consultation report

24 Feb 2010

This report summarises the feedback from consultation with stakeholders including a broad range of Sector organisations, state and territory governments, peak bodies, academics and individuals.

Initial consultation in 2008 clarified that there was support for a National Compact as a means to address issues impeding productive working relationships between the Government and the Sector.

Further consultation in 2009 indicated widespread support for the development of a Compact to improve relationships and the way the Government and the Sector work together.

A number of groups expressed concern about trying to reach agreement across such a broad and diverse Sector. Other groups also expressed the need for the Compact to reach beyond those focused on welfare.

Some respondents called for a two-phased approach, with the Compact identifying broad principles followed by development of action plans with specific parts of the Sector (e.g. community services) or focusing on specific issues (e.g. contracting).

The view was also consistently expressed that the Compact must be endorsed across all levels of government. Consultation identified that a responsibility exists for the Government to champion the Compact in partnership with state, territory and local governments to achieve - to the greatest extent possible - consistency between compacts at the national and state levels.

Consultation also identified that the development and implementation of the Compact needs to include gaining support from all potential parties. This includes peak organisations and advocacy organisations as well as locally based smaller organisations. Consultation also strongly supported ensuring the Compact recognises the importance of community capacity and civil action beyond the "non-profit" Sector i.e. the role of citizens and communities and volunteer organisations.

Responses to the Compact online survey highlighted the desired features of a Compact in Australia. Many respondents highlighted the need for the Compact to result in agreed actions and measurable change.

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