This report sets out the findings of a research project investigating the meaning of independence in the community not-for-profit (NFP) sector. While frequently independence is a central concept in debate on the NFP sector, the meaning of independence is taken for granted.
Object 2 of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 (Cth) is: "to support and sustain a robust, vibrant, independent and innovative Australian not-for-profit sector." Yet independence is not defined in the legislation and no work has been undertaken investigating the meaning of independence among representatives of the NFP sector. This project addresses that gap.
This report highlights that there are a range of ways in which independence is defined and understood in the ACNC Act, in policy debates, and by sector representatives. It also highlights that independence continues to be considered of vital importance to and by the NFP community sector.