Charity licensing reforms 2020

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Consumer Protection is changing the way it administers the Charitable Collections Act 1946 (WA).  
These reforms are intended to simplify the application and reporting requirements for licensed charities in Western Australia and reduce duplication for those licence holders who are also registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). 
 
These changes have been in effect since July 2020.  
 

Introduction of continuous licences 

Consumer Protection is introducing continuous licences (no expiry date) and it will no longer be necessary for licence holders to apply to renew their licence every 3 years. Continuous licences will be issued on the condition that the licensed organisation meets its annual reporting obligations and complies with the licence requirements.  

From July 2020, licence holders will be issued with a continuous licence at their next renewal date (upon receipt of an application). Arrangements will also be made for licences that were issued from 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2020 to be reissued as continuous licences. Consumer Protection will contact the affected licence holders directly with more information in the future. 

Reporting exemptions for ACNC registered charities 

Licence holders who are also registered charities with the ACNC will no longer be required to submit an annual statement to Consumer Protection or provide a copies of financial reports.  This exemption will be conditional on the licence holder meeting its annual reporting obligations to the ACNC and including their WA licence number when submitting the Annual Information Statement (AIS) (referred to as the “fundraising licence number” in this form).

Note: This change will not be retrospective and annual statements for financial years ending prior to 30 June 2020 will still be required to be lodged with Consumer Protection. For example:

Organisation’s financial year ends on: Annual Statement required by
Consumer Protection
31 December 2019 Yes
30 April 2020 Yes
30 June 2020 No. Exemptions will apply for licence holders also registered with the ACNC.

 

It will also still be necessary for all licensed charities to notify Consumer Protection of any changes to its contact details, Principal Executive Officers and appointed auditors/reviewers (where applicable).  

Financial reporting requirements 

Auditing requirements

The requirements to complete a review or audit of the financial report in the future will depend on a licence holders reporting category. Licensed charities will be categorised as small, medium or large based on their total annual revenue. The reporting categories and requirements will be set as follows:

Category Annual revenue  Reporting requirements  
Small  Less than $250,000 
Financial report to be prepared. 
No audit or review required.  
Medium $250,000 or over but less than $1,000,000 
Financial report to be prepared. 
A review or audit to be completed 
Large $1,000,000 or over 
Financial report to be prepared. 
Audit to be completed. 

 

Note: These revenue categories are consistent with both the ACNC and the tiered reporting requirements for incorporated associations under the Associations Incorporation Act 2015 (WA). 

Reporting to Consumer Protection  

Licence holders who are also registered charities with the ACNC will no longer be required to submit the annual financial reports to Consumer Protection provided they have lodged their AIS with the ACNC. 
 
Licensed holders who are not registered with the ACNC will be required to submit an Annual Financial Return to Consumer Protection each year. Medium and large charities will also be required to provide a copy of the financial report and review/audit report. 
 

Information provided by Principal Executive Officers 

Principal Executive Officers will no longer be required to provide a National Police Certificate. 

Subscribe to receive WA Charities Bulletin

If you would like to receive information about the licencing reforms you can sign up via our campaign service.
 

Amendments to Charitable Collections Act 1946 (WA)

In September 2019, the Western Australian Parliament passed the Consumer Protection Legislation Amendment Act 2019 which made changes to a number of Acts administered by Consumer Protection. The purpose of these amendments were to allow for more efficient and effective regulation of industries and increase outdated penalties. 
 
Parts of the Charitable Collections Act 1946 have been amended as a result and the following changes came into effect on 1 January 2020:
  • The responsibilities of the Minister for Commerce with respect to approving licences, setting conditions and commencing inquiries into the revocation of licences have been vested with the Commissioner for Consumer Protection. 

These changes are to be consistent with the responsibilities exercised by the Commissioner in respect to other licencing legislation administered by Consumer Protection.

  • Previous requirements for all licence holders to provide audited financial reports have been replaced and licence holders are now required to maintain records of their collections and only provide audited reports if requested by the Commissioner. 

These changes have enabled Consumer Protection to introduce the new auditing requirements based on a licence holder’s revenue and reduce the reporting burden of small charitable organisations.

  • Outdated penalties for offences under the Act have been increased to provide more effective deterrence and reflect community expectations.
Amendments were also made to the Street Collections (Regulation) Act 1940 to increase outdated penalties for offences.
 
Copies of the updated legislation can be obtained from the Parliamentary Counsel’s Office

 

National charitable fundraising reform

Charitable fundraising regulators across Australia are working together with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) to examine options to reduce the regulatory burden for fundraisers who operate in multiple jurisdictions. A proposal is being considered that would allow a charity registered with the ACNC to be automatically deemed as holding an authority in all participating jurisdictions. A discussion paper regarding this proposal is available on the New South Wales Fair Trading website. Please note that public consultation for this proposal has now closed. 
 
 

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