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Media Release by Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens

National compact takes a great leap forward

Development of the national compact between the third sector and the government has made a great leap forward following today’s national compact workshop.

Over 70 non profit sector leaders and government representatives gathered in Canberra to debate and finalise the national compact draft principles.

The compact is an election commitment of the Rudd Government to work towards an improved relationship between the non profit sector and government to the benefit of all Australians.

Broad sector consultation last year revealed strong sector support for developing a compact. Participants at today’s Workshop debated and finalised the final draft of the compact that will be taken out to broad public consultation next month.

“The compact is not only about creating a strong, vibrant, independent and innovative third sector. Even more importantly, it is also about how we work together to create inclusive and resilient Australian communities.

“That’s why the broad consultation starting next month is so important and will target not only third sector organisations but members of the wider community as well,” Senator Stephens said.

The workshop also discussed the consultation strategy for ensuring broad exposure and diverse participation. Senator Stephens launched the centrepiece of the consultation strategy – an online forum that will enable organisations and individuals to freely discuss the draft compact together.

“The forum is a fantastic mechanism because it will enable this to be an iterative process. We will be able to process the initial feedback and then relay it back to the forum for assistance with prioritising the issues raised,” Senator Stephens said.

The compact is part of the government’s wide reaching third sector development agenda that includes significant commitments including the Productivity Commission’s review of the social and economic contribution of the non-profit sector in Australia and the ongoing work to harmonise regulations and reduce red tape for the sector through COAG.

The online forum will officially open on 3 August. More information can be found at Social Inclusion website (www.socialinclusion.gov.au/compact)or call Senator Stephens’ office on 02 6277 3333.