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Commercial Fundraisers To Face Tighter Controls


12 December 2005 at 12:12 pm
Staff Reporter
Changes to the Victorian Fundraising Appeals Act will see commercial fundraisers forced to be registered in that state, however attempts to introduce a national code of conduct is still a long way off.

Staff Reporter | 12 December 2005 at 12:12 pm


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Commercial Fundraisers To Face Tighter Controls
12 December 2005 at 12:12 pm

Changes to the Victorian Fundraising Appeals Act will see commercial fundraisers forced to be registered in that state, however attempts to introduce a national code of conduct is still a long way off.

The decision comes on the back of an 18 month review into the State’s fundraising laws which recommended commercial fundraisers be forced to declare their operations in Victoria.

The Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs, Marsha Thomson says recent experience has shown the need to keep a closer eye on commercial fundraisers, to make sure that the money they say will be raised from their fundraising activities does indeed reach the cause they are fundraising for and, ultimately, the beneficiaries of that cause.

She says the Bracks Government will change the law to place tighter controls on commercial fundraisers by forcing them to register.

Minister Thomson says the current laws placed the onus on charities to declare the use of commercial fundraisers.

The Government released a Report of the Fundraising Review, which was chaired by the Member for Narre Warren North, Luke Donnellan.

More than 60 submissions addressing the issues identified in the discussion paper were received.

The key recommendations (there are 17 in total) in the report included:

– Requiring all commercial fundraisers to register if they are involved in fundraising in Victoria (commercial fundraisers are not currently required to register if they are acting as an agent of a Not for Profit fundraiser);
– Increasing the transparency of fundraising by creating powers to make fundraisers disclose the proportion of funds raised and total amount that will be or has been distributed to the intended beneficiaries; and
– Making registration procedures more accessible and streamlined for fundraisers.

The issue of a national legislative approach to fundraising was also considered in the report under the discussion called ‘national harmonisation’.

A large proposition of submissions from the NFP sector indicated that the administrative cost associated with compliance with many different regulatory regimes is significant.

However many submissions were also opposed to the options of adhering to a national code of conduct or registration on another state’s register.

The report concludes that developing a national code is problematic and at best a long term goal. However a system of mutual recognition of registration between jurisdictions which have a fundraising registration system could be a more viable option and could be achieved in the shorter term.

The report proposes that the Victorian Government should work towards establishing national harmonisation of fundraising regulation and uniform national accounting standards for the Not for Profit sector.

Report Chairman Luke Donnellan will seek further feedback from the community on the proposals for reform and report back to the Minister.

Donnellan says interested stakeholders were invited to make written submissions to the report or meet with him in person.

He wants to hear the views of fundraisers and the community on these proposals to get the balance right between enhancing transparency and confidence in donations for the community and imposing obligations on fundraisers.

Mr Donnellan will be available to meet with stakeholders from Monday 23 January 2006 until the closing date for submissions, Tuesday 28 February 2006. Written submissions will also be accepted up to this date.

Submissions and/or requests to meet can be sent to fundraisingsubmissions@justice.vic.gov.au

Submissions can also be forwarded to:

Review of the Fundraising Appeals Act 1998
Consumer Affairs Victoria
2/452 Flinders Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3001

Copies of the Report of the Review of the Fundraising Appeals Act 1998 can be obtained from the Consumer Affairs Website www.consumer.vic.gov.au or by phoning 1300 55 81 81.



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