Not-For-Profit Newsletter – June 2013
GOVERNMENT INQUIRIES UPDATE
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse commenced private hearings in May in Sydney. The private hearings will be taking evidence from victims who have contacted the Commission who wish to share their experiences.
While the hearings will remain confidential unless the witness elects to make their testimony public, the Commission says that they are an opportunity to “deepen its understanding of the circumstances of abuse in institutions”.
NSW GOVERNMENT CUTS VICTIMS COMPENSATION PAYMENTS
On 7 May 2013, the New South Wales Government introduced the Victims Rights and Support Bill 2013 (“The Victims Support Scheme”) into Parliament. The Victims Support Scheme will abolish the Victims Compensation Tribunal. Any Application that is already lodged with the Tribunal but has not yet been determined will be dealt with under the new Victims Support Scheme.
The maximum compensation now payable to a victim of an act of violence has been reduced from $50,000 to $15,000. A claim for compensation is now lodged as a claim for a Recognition Payment. The proposed changes will apply retrospectively to claims currently being processed. Read more.
GONSKI REFORM OF SCHOOL FUNDING
The Gonski reform will have a direct effect on funding for public schools and private schools, both the ‘wealthy’ and the ‘less wealthy’. In particular, the Catholic Education Office (CEO) has highlighted that in principle, it supports the focus of the Reform, which is based on “the need of individual students no matter where they live or what school they attend in the hope that students will achieve their full potential” (Dr Dan White, Executive Director of Sydney CEO speaking at recent debate between Peter Garrett and Anthony Pyne hosted by the CEO).
The budget committed $9.8 billion to additional investment in school education and New South Wales has signed up to the Reform, notwithstanding criticism that the increased funds will not flow in the first three years from implementation.
Catholic Education Office budgets may need to adjust to shortfall until the increased flow of funds begins.
HOW IS ACNC PROGRESSING?
Now that we are nearing six months since its commencement, charities have acquired ‘the feel’ for how ACNC will operate.
Critical dates past and looming are:
- 2 June 2013 – date by which a charity which has been registered can elect to opt out of registration;
- 30 June 2013 – end of the first period to which an Activity Statement will relate for charities with a 30 June accounting period;
- 2 December 2013 – date by which a religious organisation can “opt in” to the register;
- 2 months from receipt of ACNC letter enclosing form of Confirmation Details statement it should be completed and returned to ACNC;
- 31 December 2013 – last date by which the initial Activity Statement must be filed for those charities with a financial period ending 30 June 2013.
THE GOOD NEWS
Historic steps were made on May 26 as individuals, ranging from grassroots supporters to high profile politicians and community leaders, joined together to march in support of the constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians.
The ‘Journey to Recognition’ Relay, organised by the Recognise Campaign (http://www.recognise.org.au/thejourney), involves a relay across the nation that will venture into every State and Territory with the aim of building support for the Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal Australians. Read more.
Human Rights Arts and Film Festival
When the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival (HRAFF) was launched by a group of rag tag University students in Melbourne, even they were sceptical about its longevity. Now in its sixth year, the annual arts and film festival continues to appeal to audiences with its eclectic mix of confronting and innovative subject matter.
The festival, taking place at various capital cities throughout May and June, resonates with its viewers and, according to festival director Ellie McNiell, often leads to passionate national conversations about issues that are too often left on the backburner. Read more.