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Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 417. Updated Tuesday, 08 July 2014

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Charities give up red tape
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The Department of Social Security has issued an Options Paper on proposed new arrangements for Australian charities following the abolition of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

Entitled Options Paper, Australia's Charities and Not-for-profits, the paper sets out proposed replacement arrangements for relieving Australian charities of the burden of regulation and red tape.

It seeks feedback from charities and interested parties.

According to the paper, the Government is committed to a risk-based, proportionate approach to the oversight of the charitable and not-for-profit institutions that make up Australia's civil society sector.

It said the Government had committed to abolish the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) and return certain regulatory functions to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Options Paper on cuts

The paper outlines the proposed replacement arrangements for the reporting obligations of charities that will follow the abolition of the charities regulator.

Some of the new proposals were: self-reporting requirements to ensure public accountability for charities' operations; returning determination of charitable status to the ATO with a framework in place to ensure independence of decision making; a proportionate compliance framework that would leverage existing powers; and appropriate transitional arrangements to provide certainty for the sector.

Feedback on the proposed arrangements will be used as a basis for consultation with stakeholders during July and August and help inform drafting of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Repeal) (No.2) Bill 2014, to be introduced later this year.

According to the paper, in determining replacement arrangements, the Government is looking to achieve a balance between the need for public accountability and a commitment to not burden organisations with unnecessary reporting obligations.

The Government proposed that as part of replacement arrangements charities will be required to maintain a publicly accessible website that featured the following information: names of responsible persons; details of all funding received from Government (Commonwealth State and Local); and financial reports.

Written submissions in response to the options paper can be provided by 20 August 2014 by completing the template available at the Department of Social Services website.

A summary of written submissions will be provided on the Department's website in September 2014.

The Options Paper can be accessed at this PS News link.

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