Creating legislation for charities
Europeans from various backgrounds started colonising parts of Australia about 200 years ago. These groups of people included prisoners and slaves who were exiled to Australia. With time, the colonies grew considerably and therefore the needs of these communities began growing as well. The needs of the lower class were becoming dire, and the government at the time did not appear to provide adequate support for the situation.
Eventually, the poorer communities relied on leaders in the community to form the first movements in support of these individuals. This led to the formation of the first non-profit movement in Australia. The intention to provide food, clothing, and other services to the sick and poor was clear.
In the light of the challenges made apparent, the government started subsidising charities that made no profit from their activities. As time wore on, the government played a greater role in regulating charitable activities. In modern times charity law in Australia has undergone considerable changes – mostly for the better.
Charities Act of 2013
The Charities Act of 2013 renewed the statutory federal definition of a charity (prior definitions being unclear and complicated). This definition gave charities and non-profit organisations a legal federal framework to work from. Furthermore, the establishment of the Not-For-Profits Commission (ACNC) and the Australian Charities body led to further advancements in creating clear-cut regulatory laws for charities to utilise.
The ACNC is the only regulator of charities in Australia and is responsible for handling the maintenance and registration of charities, as well as the enforcement of regulatory measures. The ACNC being the only responsible body for regulation means the current system is more centralised in its control and regulation over charities.
Why do charities need regulation?
With thousands of charities currently operating in Australia, it has become necessary to regulate the flow of money in and out of these organisations. It is often the case that people try to mislead or scam others into donating to a certain cause that is not credible. The creation of fake charities has therefore also been an issue. Regulation can keep a close watch on non-profit organisations to ensure that they remain legal entities.