Deferred charity regulation opportunity to cut red tape

The Federal Government's deferral of mooted changes to not-for-profit law provides time for State and Territory Governments to rethink their resistance to creating a genuine National not-for-profit regulator.

Welcoming the Federal Government's decision today to delay new not-for-profit governance and reporting requirements until 2013, Catholic Health Australia (CHA) thanked Ministers David Bradbury and Mark Butler for acting in response to problems that rushed regulatory change of not-for-profit law would have created.

CHA CEO Martin Laverty said "Board Directors and senior staff of Catholic hospitals and aged care services had been worried that if changes to not-for-profit governance rules were rushed, unintended consequences may have resulted.

"By allowing more time to consult on changes to governance of not-for-profit organisations, and deferring the commencement of new financial reporting obligations, not-for-profit groups will have a chance to better prepare for change.

"The deferral also allows for the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to revisit the opportunity of State and Territory Governments joining with the Federal Government to create a new national regulator.

"The resistance of States and Territories to transfer their regulatory roles of fundraising oversight and not-for-profit registration to the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) means charity red tape will balloon.

"The ACNC will duplicate State and Territory roles. We argue the real value of the ACNC will not be achieved unless COAG strikes agreement for all not-for-profit reporting and fundraising oversight to be harmonised in one place," Mr Laverty said.

Mr Laverty said the Federal Government should quickly make public its not-for-profit governance standards for open consultation. He urged against governance standards that would unreasonably burden not-for-profit organisations.

"Any new governance rules must not impose new costs, must not be more burdensome than for-profit company rules, and must recognise not-for-profit groups are independent of and not servants of government," Mr Laverty said.


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