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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.

Instead, Ms O’Dwyer announced a raft of reformative measures seemingly aimed at centralising oversight without duplicating the burden of administration and compliance or restricting the provision of vital aid services by Australian organisations outside of Australia, including that:

  1. All non-government DGRs will be automatically registered as a charities with the ACNC from 1 July 2019 and current non-charity DGRs will have a 12 month transitional period to achieve compliance with ACNC requirements from this date;
  2. The DGR registers and Overseas Aid Gift Deduction Scheme will be integrated with the ACNC charity register and the ACNC will be the single point of reporting; and
  3. External Conduct Standards enforceable by the ACNC will be issued by the Government to strengthen oversight of overseas activities.

Nathan Gately, Solicitor
Josephine Heesh, Partner

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