Charity Inquiry - The Issues
20 November 2000 at 12:11 pm
There are four main issues in which the Committee is looking for comment.
1. The existing definitions used in Australia including the continuing relevance of the ‘public benevolent institution’ definition
2. The existing definitions used overseas
3. The implications of current social expectations and experiences for defining charities and
4. The options for enhancing the current Australian definitions
The Committee says the current data on the sector is not comprehensive or consistent and is limited to 1997-98 as the most recent statistics available.
As well, the information only relates to the provision of welfare services and does not encompass organisations in the areas of education, religion, health, arts and culture, community legal services or indigenous community affairs.
The Committee is looking to organisations, researchers and anyone with an interest in how the sector works to help in drawing up a comprehensive definition. (The current Common Law definition of charity dates back to 1601).
The Committee says the central task of the Inquiry is to identify features of the modern social and economic environment, which may affect the attributes, purposes and behaviour of organisations in the sector and how these may have changed in recent years.
The Issues paper poses a number of questions on each main topic for organisations to consider when making a submission.
The aim of the Inquiry is to give the Government options for providing a clear and concise definition of modern charities and related organisations with respect to Commonwealth law and administrative practice.
The Chairman of the Inquiry is former NSW Supreme Court Judge and Federal Court Judge, the Hon Ian Sheppard AO, QC.
Information about the Inquiry and the Issues paper are available at www.cdi.gov.au and inquiries about submissions can be made to the Secretariat on (02) 6263 4346. The deadline for submissions is 31st December, 2000.