Community and Associations Newsletter – February 2018
Published on February 19, 2018 by Josephine Heesh
Now that 2018 is well underway, we report on the following items of current relevance to the sector:
- ACNC Act review as required after 5 years of its operation
- Fate of the “in Australia” test
- Religious Freedom report
- Proposed external influence legislation, targeting electoral funding and foreign principals
- Good news of research funding for youth mental health services
We trust you will enjoy the material.
The Carroll & O’Dea Community & Associations Team
Review of Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission legislationA review panel composed of Mr Patrick McClure AO (chair), Mr Greg Hammond OAM, Ms Su McCluskey, and Dr Matthew Turnour has been appointed by the Federal Government to conduct the statutorily imposed 5 year review of the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission (ACNC) legislation (“the Review”).
ACNC’s Agenda for Reform
The ACNC’s own 67 page submission to the Review published on 19 January 2017 includes some recommendations not anticipated by the sector.
Dumped: the “In Australia” Test
In a densely packed media release on 5 December 2017, the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, announced that the as-yet unlegislated “In Australia” test proposed by the Rudd Government in 2009 would not be pursued as it “would not provide appropriate oversight of the overseas activities of exempted organisations such as overseas disaster relief funds” and could prevent the delivery of legitimate and much needed aid services overseas.
Review Of Religious Freedom
61.6% of Australians who voted in the same-sex marriage survey voted ‘yes’. In the pre-vote period many commentators expressed concerns that the legislation, if passed, would go beyond the immediate bounds of marriage and they questioned the competency of Australian law to adequately protect the human right of freedom of religion.
External Influences: Electoral Funding And Foreign Principals
Actors in the not-for-profit sector have raised concerns about the impact that the reforms contained in Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding And Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017 (Cth) (“Electoral Funding Bill”) will have on charities. There is also concern about provisions of The Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill 2017 (“FITS Bill”)
The federal government has announced a $110 million funding package to extend and expand mental health programs for young Australians. Aimed at tackling youth anxiety and depression, this package demonstrates a recognition of the importance of research, early prevention and intervention, and support services for young people and their families, as well as training for teachers and professionals that work with young people.