We have certainly seen a dramatic start to 2020 with bushfires continuing across much of our nation. Amid the conditions, I hope many of you were able to have a safe and happy break.
It is inspiring to see the generous donations fast approaching half a billion dollars and communities coming together to help those affected by the bushfires. However, the questions arising over the distribution of funds continues to grow. In 2019, Governance Institute, as a member of the #fixfundraising coalition, called for reform of the laws that apply to the fundraising activities of charities. The law reforms aim to allow charities to spend less time on red-tape and more time on what they set out to in the first place, help people in need.
Acting for our members has resulted in some great policy highlights and wins in 2019, motivating Governance Institute to move into 2020 with renewed vigour to pursue our corporate pillars to influence, inspire and support our members. I encourage you to read the full description our achievements on the website, and I have included some top highlights here.
Governance Institute continues to advocate for modern and efficient practices, lodging a joint submission with AIRA to the Treasury Deregulation Taskforce, which outlined the need to reduce red-tape and allow shareholder disclosure to shift to electronic or digital format.
Acting for our members has resulted in some great policy highlights and wins in 2019, motivating Governance Institute to move into 2020 with renewed vigour.
Governance Institute is a member of the Modernising Business Registers (MBR) Business Advisory Group and the Director Identification Number (DIN) co-design reference group. This ATO-led project aims to modernise the business register system, and transform the way business interacts with government. In our submission, amongst other recommendations, we advocated extending the DIN scheme to company secretaries.
In a submission to ASIC on whistleblowing, we made several recommendations which were included in the final version of guidance released in November 2019.
Representing our members, we were able to provide practical feedback on the implications of changes to the ASX listing rules and consequently have developed an ASX-accredited education offering titled Meeting ASX Listing Rule Requirements.
As well as making significant progress consulting and advocating for simpler and improved business processes, we have seen governance remain front of mind through ongoing media exposure. As a member of the CHESS Replacement Stakeholder Group, I gave several media interviews, allowing me to air the group’s concerns. More broadly, I engaged in governance discussions on The Drum and will continue to seek opportunities to spread our message.
Our General Manager, Policy & Advocacy, Catherine Maxwell, appeared as an expert witness at the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality, and regulators, including APRA, ASIC, ASX, ACNC and ASX continue to consult with us on issues related to governance and risk management in Australia.
2019 saw the release of the fourth annual Ethics Index, which highlighted the importance the community places on various ethically challenging issues. In a submission to the Department of Industry, Science and Innovation, we expressed support for the ongoing discussion about the need for AI opportunities to be balanced with risks. We also made a submission to Standards Australia on a proposed standard for AI. Following our submission, we have been invited to join the Standards Australia Working Group, which will develop an AI standard.
We are now on the count down to the Governance Institute Governance and Risk Management Forums. These event brings together like-minded professionals to address governance and risk management issues affecting you right now. I hope to see you at the Governance and Risk Management Forums, and l look forward to representing you in 2020.