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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (25 May) . . Page.. 2206..


During the ensuing period, State and Territory officials continued to pursue the matter through various forums but with little or no response from the Commonwealth.

On 6 February 2004, the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Paterson, without reference to States and Territories, issued a press release advising that the Commonwealth Government was now prepared to re-enter negotiations regarding a new proposal. Senator Patterson subsequently sent formal letters to State and Territory Ministers, including to me.

On 12 March 2004, I replied to Senator Patterson's letter indicating that while the ACT Government was keen to see the establishment of a truly national and feasible transport reciprocity scheme, sufficient time was needed to consider the offer in detail, and to obtain appropriate agreements from the other jurisdictions, before deciding on the Commonwealth's latest offer. I am advised that other jurisdictions have provided similar advice to Senator Patterson.

I also noted in my letter that my Department would engage in discussions with officials in her Department, and seek advice from other jurisdictions through the national Positive Ageing Taskforce to determine the national perspective. The matter is on the agenda for discussion at the next Taskforce meeting to be held on 28 April 2004 in Melbourne.

Following advice from the Taskforce meeting, my Department will facilitate a whole-of -government response to the Commonwealth's offer, for the ACT Government's consideration.

Charities-control

(Question No 1425)

Mr Cornwell asked the Minister for Urban Services, upon notice, on 30 March 2004:

(1) What controls exist for the collection of donations in the ACT by overseas charities, and to whom are these charities accountable;

(2) If there are no controls in the ACT applicable to overseas charities, why not.

Mr Wood: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) The controls in the Charitable Collections Act 2003 (the Act) for overseas charities to collect donations in the ACT are the same for all charities, provided they are not exempt. Section 6(1)(d) of the Charitable Collections Regulations 2003 (The Regulations) exempts any non-government organisation which is accredited with the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) from the Act. This exemption applies whether or not the money or benefit is, or intended to be used solely for aid in a foreign country.

Overseas charities, which are licensed in the ACT under the Act, are accountable to the Chief Executive, Department of Urban Services under the Act and its Regulations.

(2) The controls for non-exempt overseas, local or interstate charities or organisations, which are licensed to collect under the Act and the Regulations are the same. This guarantees that all entities are treated on a fair and equitable basis.


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