Country Idealist Profiles

Victoria (Aus) – Melbourne administration

Posted in Australia, Victoria (Australia), Victoria (Australia) - Basics by blopote on August 13, 2008

The Melbourne City Council governs the City of Melbourne (the most populous in Victoria), which takes in the CBD and a few adjoining inner suburbs. However the head of the Melbourne City Council, the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, is frequently treated as a representative of greater Melbourne (the entire metropolitan area), particularly when interstate or overseas. The Lord Mayor is John So, who was crowned the 2006 World Mayor. Most city-wide government activities are controlled by the Victorian state government, which governs from Parliament House in Spring Street. These include public transport, main roads, traffic control, policing, education above preschool level, and planning of major infrastructure projects. Because three quarters of Victoria’s population lives in Melbourne, state governments have traditionally been reluctant to allow the development of citywide governmental bodies, which would tend to rival the state government. The semi-autonomous Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works was abolished in 1992 for this reason. This is not dissimilar to other Australian states where State Governments have similar powers in greater metropolitan areas.

Victoria (Aus) – State structure

Posted in Australia, Victoria (Australia), Victoria (Australia) - Basics by blopote on August 13, 2008

There are 79 Local Government Areas in Victoria. LGA’s are constituted as cities, shires, rural cities and, in one case, a borough.

Shire and city councils are responsible for functions delegated by the Victorian parliament, such as city planning, road infrastructure and waste management. Council revenue comes mostly from property taxes and government grants.

(Source: Victorian Parliamentary Library, Department of Victorian Communities, Australian Electoral Commission).

Municipalities of Greater Melbourne: City of Banyule, City of Bayside, City of Boroondara, City of Brimbank, Shire of Cardinia, City of Casey, City of Darebin, City of Frankston, City of Glen Eira, City of Greater Dandenong, City of Hobsons Bay, City of Hum, City of Kingston, City of Knox, City of Manningham, City of Maribyrnong, City of Maroondah, City of Melbourne, Shire of Melton, City of Monash, City of Moonee Valley, City of Moreland, Shire of Mornington Peninsula, Shire of Nillumbik, City of Port Phillip, City of Stonningto, City of Whitehors, City of Whittlesea, City of Wyndham, City of Yarra, Shire of Yarra Ranges.

Regional Cities: Rural City of Ararat, City of Ballarat, City of Greater Bendigo, Rural City of Benalla, City of Grater Geelong, City of Greater Shepparton, Rural City of Horsham, City of Latrobe, Rural City of Mildura, Rural City of Swan Hill, Rural City of Wangaratta, City of Warrnambool, City of Wodonga.

Rural Shires: Alpine Shire, Bass Coast Shire, Shire of Baw Baw, Shire of Buloke, Shire of Campaspe, Shire of Central Goldfields, Colac Otway Shire, Corangamite Shire, Shire of East Gippsland, Shire of Gannawarra, Shire of Glenelg, Golden Plains Shire, Shire of Hepburn, Shire of Hindmarsh, Shire of Indigo, Shire of Loddon, Shire of Macedon Ranges, Shire of Mansfield, Shire of Mitchell, Shire of Moira, Shire of Moorabool, Shire of Mount Alexander, Shire of Moyne, Shire of Murrindindi, Shire of Northern Grampians, Shire of Pyrenees, South Gippsland Shire, Shire of Southern Grampians, Shire of Strathbogie, Surf Coast Shire, Shire of Towong, Shire of Wellington, Shire of West Wimmera, Shire of Yarriambiack.

Other: Borough of Queenscliffe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_Government_Areas_of_Victoria


Victoria (Aus) – Exemptions from the requirement to register

Many organisations engaging in fundraising are exempt from the requirement to register and the associated record-keeping and disclosure requirements. Exemptions apply to the following organisations:

• state schools and council registered schools;

• universities, TAFE colleges and other tertiary educational institutions;

• hospitals and other registered funded agencies under the

Health Services Act (Vic) 1998;

• religious bodies with the authority to conduct marriages;

• registered political parties;

• registered trade unions and registered workplace relations or industrial relations organisations;

• kindergartens and other licensed children’s services that funding for pre-school programs;

• NFP organisations that receive less than $10,000 gross in a financial year from fundraising and use only unpaid volunteers; and

• the Anti Cancer Council.

Except for NFP organisations that receive less than $10,000 gross in a financial year from fundraising and use only unpaid volunteers, all these categories of NFPs are also exempt from the record-keeping and reporting requirements under the Fundraising Appeals Act.

Submissions to the Review indicated that it is widely perceived within the NFP sector that the large numbers of exemptions detract from the value of having a register. It is not apparent to a public contributor whether a fundraiser does not appear on the register for the reason that it is legitimately exempt or is conducting illegitimate activities.

The fundraising regulatory burden falls unevenly on the sector as there are a number of exemptions which favour those exempted organisations and assist them to reduce compliance costs. This is unsatisfactory when the public has an interest in the costs of fundraising and the regulator an even greater interest … Exemptions have the potential to compromise public trust and impact on the transparency and accountability of the industry. Fundraising Institute of Australia submission

Exemptions to the Register were not considered in detail by the Review as the issues relate to coverage of the Act rather than administrative burden. However, the concerns raised by participants are valid and warrant further consideration as they raise broader questions relating to the achievement of good regulatory outcomes for fundraising. As the objective of the fundraising register is to provide public information on fundraising and maintain public confidence, arguably all organisations conducting fundraising activities should be subject to the same record-keeping and disclosure requirements. To that end, bringing currently exempt organisations under the scrutiny of the Act would ensure completeness of the register and thereby improve disclosure.

However, removing the exemptions may impose a new administrative burden if exempt organisations are not currently keeping or disclosing their fundraising records to the public. The degree of public disclosure by exempt organisations is unclear. To the extent that exempt organisations already report publicly on fundraising activities, bringing them under the Act would not impose a new administrative burden. A detailed examination of exemptions to the register and administrative impacts of removing the exemptions should be undertaken by DOJ.

Victoria (Aus) – Fundraising Registration conditions

The Director has a broad right to impose conditions on the conduct of fundraising appeals either at the time of registration or subsequently. It is CAV (Consumer Affairs Vctoria) policy that the Director will register or renew registration of persons proposing to conduct fundraising appeals in Victoria according to the following principles:

• Persons disclosing that more than 50% of appeal proceeds will be distributed to beneficiaries will be registered without conditions attached to registration (subject to the discretion of the Director if there are reasonably grounds to require conditions);

• Persons disclosing that less than 50% of all appeal proceeds will be distributed to beneficiaries will be registered subject to a disclosure condition affecting their fundraising appeals. That condition is:

• that the fundraiser with respect to each and every fundraising appeal it conducts in Victoria (a) prominently identifies in all solicitations, both written and oral, to prospective donors the proportion of total appeal proceeds that will be distributed to beneficiaries during the period of its registration; and (b) clearly labels all products offered for sale with a statement identifying the proportion of total appeal proceeds that will be distributed to beneficiaries during the period of its registration.

• Persons disclosing that less than 35% of all appeal proceeds will be distributed to beneficiaries will be requested to show cause why they should be registered.

Victoria (Aus) – Rights and Responsabilities

As a volunteer you have the right to:

  • information about the organisation for which you are volunteering
  • a clearly written job description
  • know to whom you are accountable
  • be recognised as a valued team member
  • be supported and supervised in your role
  • a healthy and safe working environment
  • be covered by insurance
  • say no if you feel you are being exploited
  • be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses
  • be advised of the organisation’s travel reimbursement policy
  • be informed and consulted on matters which directly or indirectly affect you and your work
  • be made aware of the grievance procedure within the organisation
  • orientation and training

As a volunteer you need to:

  • be reliable
  • respect confidentiality
  • carry out the specified job description
  • be accountable
  • be committed to the organisation
  • undertake training as requested
  • ask for support when you need it
  • give notice before you leave the organisation
  • value and support other team members
  • carry out the work you have agreed to do responsibly and ethically

http://www.volunteeringaustralia.org/html/s02_article/article_view.asp?id=2962&nav_cat_id=222&nav_top_id=50

Victoria (Aus) – Volunteering Definition and Principles

Posted in Australia, Victoria (Australia), Victoria (Australia) - Third sector by blopote on August 13, 2008

Definitions of Volunteering

Formal volunteering is an activity which takes place through not for profit organisations or projects and is undertaken:

  • To be of benefit to the community and the volunteer;
  • Of the volunteer’s own free will and without coercion;
  • In designated volunteer positions only.

Principles of Volunteering

  • Volunteering benefits the community and the volunteer.
  • Volunteer work is unpaid.
  • Volunteering is always a matter of choice.
  • Volunteering is not compulsorily undertaken to receive pensions or government allowances.
  • Volunteering is a legitimate way in which citizens can participate in the activities of their community.
  • Volunteering is a vehicle for individuals or groups to address human, environmental and social needs.
  • Volunteering seeks to provide mutual benefit for the community and the individual.
  • Volunteering is not a substitute for paid work.
  • Volunteers do not replace paid workers nor constitute a threat to the job security of paid workers.
  • Volunteering respects the rights, dignity and culture of others.
  • Volunteering promotes human rights and equality.

http://www.volunteeringaustralia.org/html/s02_article/article_view.asp?id=2962&nav_cat_id=222&nav_top_id=50

Victoria (Aus) – Other Commonwealth bodies

Posted in Australia, Victoria (Australia), Victoria (Australia) - Third sector by blopote on August 13, 2008

Other Commonwealth bodies involved in standard setting relevant to the NFP sector, include the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) and the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AUASB). These entities report to the Financial Reporting Council (FRC). The roles and responsibilities of these organisations are summarised here.

Financial Reporting Council

The FRC is responsible for providing broad oversight of the process for setting accounting and auditing standards as well as monitoring the effectiveness of auditor independence requirements in Australia. It comprises key stakeholders from the business community, the professional accounting bodies, governments and regulatory agencies. Members of the FRC are appointed by the Treasurer.

Key functions of the FRC are to advise the Commonwealth Government on the accounting and auditing standard setting process and to determine the broad strategic directions of the AASB and the AUASB.

Australian Accounting Standards Board

The AASB is the national accounting standards setter for the public and private sectors in Australia.

Auditing and Assurance Standards Board

The AUASB is the national auditing and assurance standards setter. It has a role in developing high quality standards and related guidance for auditors and providers of other assurance services.

http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/Web14/dvc/rwpgslib.nsf/GraphicFiles/SSA+NFP+report+smaller/$file/NFP_FInalRpt_smaller.pdf

Victoria (Aus) – Commonwealth Not-for-Profit regulation

Posted in Australia, Victoria (Australia), Victoria (Australia) - Third sector by blopote on August 13, 2008

In addition to State government regulation of NFPs, the Commonwealth also has a significant regulatory role. In particular, the Commonwealth Government regulates NFPs established as companies through the Corporations Act and is responsible for the administration of the federal taxation system.

The Review focused on the administrative burden arising from Victorian Government regulation. However, some findings from the Review relate to the interaction between Victorian and Commonwealth regulation. Key Commonwealth regulators of the NFP sector include the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Their roles are summarised below.

Australian Securities and Investment Commission

ASIC enforces and regulates company and financial services laws to protect consumers, investors and creditors. ASIC is an independent Commonwealth Government body. It reports to the Commonwealth Parliament, the Commonwealth Treasurer and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Commonwealth Treasurer. ASIC administers the Corporations Act which governs the establishment and operation of companies, including the establishment of NFPs as companies limited by guarantee.

Australian Taxation Office

The ATO is the Commonwealth Government’s principal revenue collection agency, and is part of the Commonwealth Treasurer’s portfolio. Its role is to manage and shape tax, excise and superannuation systems that fund services for Australians.

The ATO administers exemptions to NFPs for certain Commonwealth taxes, including income tax, fringe benefits tax, and goods and services tax concessions. These exemptions generally apply to particular types of NFPs, such as charities. Charities and income tax exempt funds require endorsement by the ATO to access most concessions.

Certain NFP organisations are also entitled to receive income tax deductible gifts. They are called deductible gift recipients (DGRs). DGRs are endorsed by the ATO, or listed by name in the tax law.

http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/Web14/dvc/rwpgslib.nsf/GraphicFiles/SSA+NFP+report+smaller/$file/NFP_FInalRpt_smaller.pdf

Victoria (Aus) – NFP funding & employment

Posted in Australia, Victoria (Australia), Victoria (Australia) - Third sector by diego1084 on July 24, 2008

Many NFP organisations receive funding from the Victorian Government in the form of grants or service agreements. In 2005-06, the Government provided over 5,000 grants or service payments to NFPs with total funding exceeding $2 billion.

DHS and DPCD provide the largest amounts of funding for NFPs, although DEECD, DOJ and Arts Victoria also have significant programs that administer grants to NFPs.

Members of the community are often actively involved in NFPs, either as members, donors, paid employees or as volunteers. It is estimated that Victorians contribute approximately $3-$4 billion per annum to NFP fundraising.

Over three-quarters of all associations (76.2 per cent) do not employ any paid staff. Most incorporated associations are also small in terms of membership. One-quarter (26.2 per cent) have fewer than 20 members and over half have fewer than 50 members.

http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/Web14/dvc/rwpgslib.nsf/GraphicFiles/SSA+NFP+report+smaller/$file/NFP_FInalRpt_smaller.pdf

Victoria (Aus) – NFP regulation

Key regulators of the NFP sector in Victoria include:

• Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV), which administers the key regulation of the sector, including the Associations Incorporation Act 1981, the Co-operatives Act 1996, the Fundraising Appeals Act 1998;

• the State Revenue Office (SRO), which processes applications for exemptions from various Victorian Government taxes and charges; and

• the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation (VCGR), which administers the Gambling Regulation Act 2003. The Gambling Regulation Act includes regulation of minor gaming activities used by NFPs for fundraising purposes, such as raffles and bingo.

Forms of regulation

Explicit government regulation: primary and subordinate legislation

The most explicit form of government regulation is legislation, either primary legislation, namely Acts of Parliament, or subordinate legislation, such as statutory rules (commonly referred to as ‘regulations’, a terminology that can create some confusion), ministerial orders, mandatory codes of practice and other legislative instruments. Subordinate legislation must be authorised by primary legislation, but is not made by the Parliament. If a code of practice or other instrument is made under primary legislation that also authorises the imposition of penalties for breaches, then in effect the code becomes part of the legislation, although it will rarely be published with the primary legislation.

Co-regulation

Co-regulation typically refers to the situation where an industry or professional body develops the regulatory arrangements (such as a code of practice, accreditation or rating schemes), in consultation with a government. While the industry administers its own arrangements, the government provides legislative backing to enable the arrangements to be enforced. Co-regulation is common in relation to professions such as lawyers and engineers.

Quasi-regulation

Quasi-regulation refers to the range of rules, instruments and standards whereby government influences organisations to comply, but which do not form part of explicit government regulation. Governments may assist in developing industry codes of conduct under quasi-regulation (such as through official endorsement, representation on monitoring committees, provision of funding), but government undertakes no enforcement activity.

Self-regulation

Self-regulation sits at the opposite end of the spectrum to explicit government regulation. Self-regulation is generally characterised by the development of voluntary codes of practice or standards by an industry, with the industry solely responsible for enforcement. In this instance, the government’s role may be non-existent, or limited to the provision of advisory information.

http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/Web14/dvc/rwpgslib.nsf/GraphicFiles/SSA+NFP+report+smaller/$file/NFP_FInalRpt_smaller.pdf