Australian Consumer Law Review Issues Paper (2016)
Not-for-profit Law made a submission to the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) Review. The review provides a timely opportunity to address two important issues affecting the the not-for-profit sector:
- the lack of clarity about the application of the ACL to the broad range of activities undertaken by not-for-profits, and
- the need to harmonise fundraising regulation across Australia, which can be achieved by using the ACL as the key source of fundraising regulation.
Not-for-profit Law's submission to the ACL Review makes five recommendations:
Recommendation 1: Amend the definition of “trade and commerce” to clarify whether not-for-profit activities fall within or outside the scope of this definition by including indicia against which activities undertaken by, or on behalf of, a not-for-profit organisation can be assessed.
Recommendation 2: ACL regulators should undertake and support a nationally coordinated and tailored education program focussed on the application of the ACL to the activities undertaken by, or on behalf of, not-for-profit organisations. Funding for the extra resources required for this education program can come, at least in part, from pecuniary penalties issued for any breaches of the ACL in relation to not-for-profit activities.
Recommendation 3: ACL regulators should issue a joint interpretation statement about the application of the ACL to activities undertaken by, or on behalf of, not-for-profit groups. In light of this statement, the ACL regulators should consult with the not-for-profit sector and the public on their proposed regulatory approach to the enforcement of the ACL, and then publish their agreed, nationally consistent approach in a timely manner.
Recommendation 4: Explicitly apply sections 18, 20 and 50 to fundraising activities by adding a reference to “fundraising activities” to these sections.
Recommendation 5: Add a definition of “fundraising activities” to the ACL, for example:
“Fundraising activity” includes any activity the purpose or effect of which is the donation of money, goods or services by persons, but does not include the receipt of funds as consideration only for goods and services supplied through a business or professional activity (whether or not carried on for profit). An activity can be a fundraising activity even if nothing is received by the fundraiser.
You can read more about Not-for-profit Law's proposed fundraising reforms on our Fundraising Reform Page.
Read our full submission to the ACL Review: