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Changes proposed to Charities Bill

Thu, 21 Oct 2004

Changes proposed to Charities Bill

Commerce Minister Margaret Wilson today announced the government would commit $9.8 million to a proposed Charities Commission.

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Commerce Minister Margaret Wilson today announced the government would commit $9.8 million to a proposed Charities Commission.

"This funding means registration with the commission - to be created after the Charities Bill is passed - will be free for all charities," Margaret Wilson said.

"Furthermore, charities earning less than $10,000 a year will not be required to pay ongoing fees. Those with annual revenue of more than $10,000 will pay an online annual fee of $50. All charities will be asked to provide annual returns."

Margaret Wilson said she would invite government members of the Social Services select committee and United Future member Gordon Copeland to consider other changes to the Bill before they meet on 4 November.

These proposed changes include:

· removing the requirement for registered organisations to display a registration number on correspondence and fundraising material; · removing the prohibition on organisations insuring or indemnifying officers; · removing automatic disqualification of organisations when an officer has been convicted of a dishonesty offence more than seven years ago; · giving registered organisations six months from balance date to file an annual return, rather than four months; · giving registered organisations 60 days to file notices of change with the commission, up from 20 days; and · enabling parent or national bodies to register on behalf of their national operations.

"I will also invite the committee to consider codifying the common law so charities can undertake secondary purposes, for example advocacy, in support of their charitable purposes," Margaret Wilson said.

"Another matter the committee will be asked to consider is the commission's independence. For example, it might consider whether the commission should be an autonomous crown entity rather than a crown agent.

"These changes come in light of concerns raised by the charitable sector. They demonstrate the government's ongoing commitment to strengthening its relationship with the sector.

"These proposed amendments are about making sure the Bill is workable, reflects the needs of the sector and minimises compliance costs," Margaret Wilson said.

ENDS


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