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As Christmas giving season nears, an urgent overhaul of the fundraising system is needed

With the charity sector reeling from the impact of the pandemic and deteriorating economic conditions, an urgent – and long overdue – overhaul of fundraising laws is needed, Governance Institute of Australia says.

And this reform needs to be in place in time for the fast-approaching Christmas giving period, the peak fundraising time for many charities, Governance Institute CEO Megan Motto said.

“With different laws and registration processes in each state, there is currently a vast amount of unnecessary regulatory obligations on the charitable sector, making their work even more difficult than it already is,” Ms Motto said.

“The state-based laws need to be repealed and a plan put in place for a nationally consistent framework.”

Currently charities must apply for up to seven different fundraising licences.

Governance Institute has welcomed a proposal to create a single-step licensing system but says a more immediate and deeper level of action is needed.

In a submission to the Charitable Fundraising National Working Group on the proposal, Governance Institute has argued that more needs to be done – by Christmas.

“We strongly welcome the proposal as a step in the right direction but unfortunately the major issue remains unfixed and the bulk of the regulatory burden will remain,” Ms Motto said.

By only dealing with the registration process, the model provides only a fraction of the benefits that are needed. Charities need to be able to focus on those in need – rather than miles of red tape.”

Governance Institute is part of the #FixFundraising campaign, a coalition led by Community Council for Australia and Justice Connect, that has been lobbying for reform since 2016.

Ms Motto said the pandemic has served to bring the long-term problems and inconsistencies to boiling point.

COVID19 has exposed many of the shortcomings of the current regulatory environment. This is a sector that has lost so many of its volunteers and opportunities to fundraise this year, right at a time when a growing number of people need their services.

Are you prepared for proxy season?

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