Justice Connect welcomes progress on Federal and State governments’ commitment to #FixFundraising
7 Oct 2022
Justice Connect welcomes the announcement today by the Hon. Dr Andrew Leigh MP (Federal Assistant Minister for Charities) and the Hon. Melissa Horne (Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs) that a framework for national consistency on charitable fundraising is expected to be released this year.
Sue Woodward AM, Chief Adviser at Justice Connect’s Not-for-profit Law program said:
“It’s encouraging to see advancements on this important law reform that will allow Australian charities to get on with their jobs of serving their communities.”
The #FixFundraising campaign, which has long called for action from our lawmakers on the issue, welcomes the announcement and notes that the introduction of consistent, principles-based fundraising requirements would mark a significant milestone.
This change would mean charities can spend less of their limited resources navigating seven sets of complex laws, and more time supporting our community’s most marginalised members.
“The current fundraising laws are a mess, and charities are caught up doing paperwork instead of allocating their already stretched resources on crucial work, wasting time and money that could go directly to supporting communities.”
Under existing laws, any charity that wants to raise money online in Australia must work out how to comply with different fundraising laws in every state.
As national crises such as natural disasters, cost-of-living pressures, and housing scarcity affect more Australians and add pressure onto charities that support them, it’s more important than ever to ensure charities are supported to build resilient communities.
“The path forward is clear: we need the government to release, and then implement, a set of simplified, nationally consistent principles about how to conduct fundraising activities. This framework will underpin charitable registration and reporting, which can already be done through existing processes via the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).”
“This simplified approach will protect the wishes of donors, and provide everyone transparency, as well as reducing the red tape burdening charities”.
“But we won’t be able to say this work is done until there is a simple answer to what a charity needs to do to be legally compliant when they put a ‘donate’ button on their website”, said Woodward AM.
The #FixFundraising coalition looks forward to our continued collaboration with the Government, and eagerly awaits the release of a national framework by the end of 2022.
This announcement follows the Australian Labor Party’s announcement of bi-partisan commitment to fix Australia’s outdated fundraising laws.
In December 2021, Federal Treasurer Frydenberg announced that the Council on Federal Financial Relations (CFFR) would make charitable fundraising rules reform one of its top 10 priorities for 2022. The Council established a fundraising reform working group that is co-chaired by the Commonwealth and Victorian governments.
A major independent survey in May 2021 revealed that up to 88% of charities and not-for-profit organisations still face unnecessary red tape when raising funds for their vital services.
There are over 100 Australian charities who have joined Justice Connect’s campaign to #FixFundraising. As part of our efforts, the #FixFundraising coalition developed 14 Australian Fundraising Principles to help inform the development of a national framework.
Learn about the 10+ year history of Justice Connect’s #FixFundraising campaign.
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About Justice Connect:
Justice Connect is a legal service organisation and charity that designs and delivers high impact interventions to increase access to legal support and progress social justice.
About Justice Connect’s Not-for-profit Law program:
Justice Connect’s Not-for-profit Law program is a national, specialised legal program. It provides free and low-cost legal assistance to charities and not-for-profit organisations across Australia, runs a certified social enterprise and advocates for better laws and regulations on behalf of the community sector.