Both the former and present federal governments have been pursuing an agenda to encourage the harmonisation of state and territory fundraising regulations to reduce the paperwork burden on charities raising funds across state borders.

The reform of fundraising regulation has been on the agenda since the Industry Commission Report on Charities in 1995, and every report since has urged its reform.

On 9 September 2022, State and Territory Ministers met in Adelaide and reaffirmed their support for the reform of outdated and inconsistent conduct obligations across state and territory fundraising laws[1].

A working group of jurisdictions is finalising a framework of nationally‑consistent fundraising conduct requirements for the Council on Federal and Financial Relations to agree on and release in December 2022 (subject to the agreement of all participating jurisdictions).

With looming State elections in New South Wales and Victoria and consequent delays for policy formulation and implementation in these periods, there may be some time before the national reforms are in place.

Queensland Fundraising Regulation Consultations

The Queensland Government is consulting on proposed consequential amendments to the Collections Regulation 2008 (Collections Regulation) in relation to the cross-border recognition scheme for charitable fundraising authorisations, as proposed by the Casino Control and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 (Bill) that is currently before the Queensland Parliament.

The Bill, if passed, will provide charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) an authority to conduct fundraising in Queensland through deemed registration as a charity under the Collections Act 1966 (Collections Act).

Consideration is being given to the complete removal of section 30B from the Collections Regulation which specifies accounting records and books that must be kept. These requirements were made before computerised accounting and would be replaced with a requirement for the maintenance of general accounting records for all entities authorised to conduct fundraising in Queensland (not just Queensland ACNC registered charities).

Overly prescriptive measures in relation to approving or ratifying expenditures of more than $100, cash payments and petty cash would also be removed.

The Government is also considering an alteration to the requirement for prior approval of agreements under section 33 of the Collections Regulation. Regulation 33 requires prior approval of the Minister of fundraising agreements with third parties for a commission or expectation of reward.  Such agreements would only be submitted on request to the Department.

It is anticipated that the regulations will be amended in early 2023.

[1] Media Release: https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/andrew-leigh-2022/media-releases/statement-progress-harmonisation-fundraising-laws

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