Since our last alert, there have been a number of announcements
by the Federal Government focusing on the important objective of
the reforms agenda to reduce red tape.
ACT joins South Australia on the Red tape reduction
As we reported last year, South Australia was the first State
Government to announce that it would be introducing legislation for
compliance with ACNC Act to enable an Incorporated Association to
meet its State based obligations.
Last week the ACT and Federal Governments announced that ACT
Incorporated Associations registered with the ACNC will be carved
out any regulatory requirements under relevant ACT legislation.
This most recent announcement is a welcome step toward reduction
of red tape. However, in our view given the number of charities in
other states and the Northern Territory, we await one of the larger
states to make similar announcements before the collaboration
between State and Federal Government can be seen as making
significant steps towards this goal.
Commonwealth Grant Guidelines
The third main stream of reform as outlined by the Office for
Not-for-profit relates to Funding Reform (government, fundraising
As part of this stream of reform, the Government has recently
announced the launch of the revised Commonwealth Grant Guidelines -
click here to view.
It is anticipated that these guidelines will take effect in June
2013, in time for the new financial year.
The key changes to the Guidelines which are anticipated to
reduce red tape include:
Agency staff should not seek information from grant applicants
and recipients which is already available to them and in particular
must not request any information provided to the ACNC by registered
If an entity provides an annual audited financial statement,
then financial acquittals are only required when the activity is
considered high risk.
Grant Templates for low risk grants.
In addition to the red tape reduction, the guidelines
specifically include a prohibition on suppression clauses from
advocating on policy issues within grant agreements. This is
consistent with the proposed introduction of federal legislation
introduced in the latest sitting of parliament, to prevent similar
suppression clauses at other tiers of government.
We welcome the announcement of the guidelines and we look
towards further streamlining of the interaction between the ACNC
and other Federal and State Governments in the journey towards red
tape reduction and "one stop shop" reporting which are
primary goals of the wider reform agenda.
We discuss whether certain clauses commonly found in ordinary commercial contracts could be considered to be penalties.
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