Vaccination Network Quizzed on Fundraising
5 August 2010 at 3:35 pm
NSW Not for Profit organisation, the Australian Vaccination Network, which provides information about vaccination, has 28 days to respond to claims that it breached charitable fundraising legislation.
The NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) has issued the Australian Vaccination Network Inc (AVN) with a notice to show cause as to why its charitable fundraising authority should not be revoked. The notice was issued on 29 July.
OLGR says it conducted a full audit into the AVN to assess compliance with the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991, following complaints alleging breaches of the Act.
It says charity inspectors visited the organisation’s North Coast offices to examine records and interview personnel.
The AVN was granted a fundraising authority from 5 July 2002 to 4 July 2007. The authority was renewed on 2 June 2009 following a two-year lapse.
The OLGR says the audit detected a number of breaches of charitable fundraising legislation including:
- fundraising without an authority;
- unauthorised expenditure; and
- failure to keep proper records of income and expenditure.
Of further concern to the OLGR, it says, is the public warning issued by the Health Care Complaints Commission, stating that AVN’s failure to include a notice on its website of the nature recommended by the Commission may result in members of the public making improperly informed decisions about whether or not to vaccinate and therefore poses a risk to public health and safety.
It says the agency also identified possible breaches of the Charitable Trusts Act 1993 which are to be referred to the Department of Justice and Attorney General.
Meryl Dorey, the spokesperson for the Australian Vaccination Network says the organisation has been working with investigators from the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLG&R) regarding complaints made by members of "Stop the AVN"- an organisation which it says was set up to try and force the volunteer-run support group to close its doors.
A statement from Meryl Dorey says the organisation has followed the audit process to the best of its capability and has cooperated with the OLG&R each step of the way.
The statement says that at no time during this process has there been any suggestion of fraud and all issues which arose during the investigation have been dealt with.
It says the organisation is confident that at the conclusion of due process, the Attorney General will find that the AVN is entitled to maintain its charitable status.