Senate debates

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Bill 2012, Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Consequential and Transitional) Bill 2012; In Committee

10:57 am

Photo of Rachel SiewertRachel Siewert (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I thank the minister for his answer and I would appreciate any further information, because obviously there is a lot of money that is delivered jointly. This came up in estimates the week before last when I was in fact canvassing some of the issues around the next bill we will be debating in this chamber, the social and community services pay equity bill. There is a lot of funding delivered through joint agreements. So being able to deal with that through this legislation would give us and the sector a great deal of reassurance. That would be appreciated.

I am aware of the time so I am trying to move through these as expeditiously as possible. The issue of the volunteer individual directors was raised a lot in the various committee inquiries, and we flagged it in our additional comment report. Many of the organisations, as we have been discussing in the chamber second reading contributions, have few if any staff and rely heavily on volunteers to run their organisations. I note the comments from World Vision Australia during the Senate inquiry that it is well accepted that noncompliance is usually a matter of ignorance or underresourcing. In light of these comments the Australian Greens would expect that the commissioner would take an active role—that is what we understand from discussions in the various committees—in educating registered organisations about their obligations and ensuring that volunteer directors have easy access to plain English explanations of their duties and responsibilities under the act and how to perform. Can you tell us how the commissioner will support and educate volunteer directors and what safeguards has the government put in place through the legislation to ensure that volunteer directors are aware of their obligations?


No comments