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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (11 April) . . Page.. 1122 ..

Registered charities

(Question No 85)

Mr Cornwell asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

In relation to charities registered in the ACT:

(1) Is there a requirement to provide the ACT Government with annual audited balance sheets.

(2) Do such balance sheets show funds contributed by outside organisations and individuals, eg service groups.

(3) Are such reports available to Assembly Members, including myself.

(4) If the response to (1), (2) and/or (3) is negative, why.

Mr Stanhope: As the Attorney General and having responsibility for this area of law, the answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) No.

(2) No.

(3) No.

(4) There is no over-arching law in the ACT that requires registration of charities or sets out record keeping requirements for charities.

In the ACT there are a number of laws which make special provision for charities. For example, a number of taxing laws contain special definitions of charities. Section 26 of the Discrimination Act 1991 exempts certain charitable bodies from section 21 of the Act (these provisions have the effect that it is not unlawful for a charity to discriminate when providing accommodation). The Door-to-door Trading Act 1991 exempts contracts for the supply of goods or services by a charity from the operation of the Act. The Lotteries Act 1964 exempts charities from the operation of certain provisions of the Act. The Trustee Act 1925 makes particular provision about charitable trusts. The Perpetuities and Accumulations Act 1985 also makes special provision about charitable trusts in relation to the rule against perpetual trusts. The Unlawful Games Act 1984 provides that the game of two-up on Anzac Day is not unlawful in certain circumstances when associated with a charity. The Collections Act 1959 requires an organisation (including a charitable organisation) to obtain a license before undertaking an appeal for donations.

Charities that are incorporated associations, cooperatives or companies are required to keep financial records and reports as part of other regulatory regimes, such as under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). The records required under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) can be accessed via the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. In addition, there are special record-keeping requirements for contributions made by the holders of gaming machine licences to community groups.

Division 7.2 of the Gaming Machine Act 1987 requires the holder of a gaming machine licence to keep records of the contributions made each financial year to community groups. Within three months of the end of each financial year the Gaming Machine Commission gives a report to the Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming setting out the extent to which revenue received by licensees was used to make community contributions during the year. This report is tabled in the Legislative Assembly.

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