Media Release: Please - cut the ‘tawny’ tape strangling our charities!

Charities across Australia are frustrated with governments not acting to remove out of date regulations and duplication preventing registered charities being able to legitimately fundraise on-line.

According to David Crosbie, CEO of the CCA, “Now more than ever, we need to enable charities to pivot to on-line fundraising, but multiple levels of government bureaucracy is strangling charities by making them satisfy seven different sets of regulations requiring at least six weeks of pointless compliance work.

Business call for red tape to be cut – governments respond, farmers and miners call for green tape to be cut – governments respond.  No-one seems as interested in cutting the multiple levels of duplication and administration layered across charities, even though charities employ 1.3 million Australians (10% of the workforce) and generate 8% of GDP.  Charities must need their own colour tape – tawny brown is a mixture of red and green – maybe that will that work?”

All registered Australian charities engaged in on-line fundraising are legally required to satisfy every government in Australia.  State and Territory government regulations demand completely different documentation.  Examples of the compliance activity required for charities to fundraise on line include; advertising any intended fundraising campaign in a QLD newspaper, stipulating the amount to be raised in WA, providing auditor and bank account details, providing the names and addresses of all Board Directors and their signatures, providing a police check for some staff and Board Directors, certified proof of ID for staff and Board Directors, detailing how and when money raised will be spent, etc. etc.  

For over a decade many reports and inquiries have highlighted the problems.  Governments have agreed current fundraising regulations need to change.  Their solutions require all the State / Territory bureaucracies to let go of their individual compliance requirements. They will not let go, so little progress has been made. 

Mr Crosbie said; “Governments talk about how charities should seek to reduce administrative costs and overheads, but when it comes to freeing up charities to do their work, governments jump on and off the merry-go-round of endless inaction. The current fundraising regulations are a classic example of feral bureaucracy costing thousands of hours of charitable staff time in wasted compliance activity.  

There is an easy fix if all governments agreed to work with the information already collected by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission rather than duplicating and collecting their own. 

It is important to note that all registered charities in Australia are overseen by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC) who have significant powers to investigate any complaint by anyone against any registered charity.  The consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission also has the power to investigate and act against any charity engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct. 

Mr Crosbie said; “At this rate we will have humans on Mars before fundraising regulations are streamlined!”