New rules would target charities

media release

Major faith-based organisations, including Anglicare Tasmania, are concerned about proposed regulatory changes that would target charities.

The Anglicare Australia network, which includes Anglicare Tasmania, believes the proposed changes being considered by the Federal Government would undermine charities’ role in public debate and create a large, unnecessary administrative burden.

A joint statement was issued today by UnitingCare Australia, the St Vincent Paul Society National Council of Australia, Baptist Care Australia, and Anglicare Australia.

“Our work is driven by our mission. But these new rules would make it harder for us to advocate for our mission,” said Chris Jones, CEO of Anglicare Tasmania. “We’re calling on the Government to abandon these changes and support us in our work – helping Australians in need.”

The proposed changes relate to the way charities are regulated through the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission (ACNC). If introduced, the changes would affect charities in a way unparalleled in the business or private sector.

Charities are concerned that the proposed changes would:

  • restrict legitimate and lawful policy advocacy;
  • leave a charity at risk of deregistration if any of its staff commits a minor offence;
  • leave a charity at risk of deregistration if the ACNC Commissioner thinks they are “likely” to one day breach these rules (even if they haven’t actually done so);
  • produce an enormous amount of red tape by requiring charities to keep records of the steps they have taken to comply with the law at large, in every State, Territory and federally.

Anglicare Australia’s submission on this subject is available on-line and has been shared with the Federal Government.

Anglicare has called on the Government to withdraw the proposed changes in their entirety.

Other church-based charities have also expressed their opposition to the changes. “Baptist Care Australia are concerned that these proposed changes limit the capacity for charities to undertake legitimate and lawful advocacy. The breadth of their application to include such subjective measures as a ‘belief’ that they ‘may’ commit a minor offence is totally unreasonable,” said Nicole Hornsby, Executive Director of Baptist Care Australia.

“The administrative burden of monitoring all our activities is enormous and not warranted. Unlawful acts are already covered by existing criminal law. These changes increase red-tape for no good reason,” said Toby O’Connor, CEO of the St Vincent Paul Society National Council of Australia.


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