The NSW Government will have greater powers to protect consumers when investigating dodgy charities under a Bill introduced to NSW Parliament today.
Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said the Bill would put consumers first by giving them confidence that when they make a donation it’s being used for the right purposes.
“I want to make sure consumers are put first and know they aren’t being ripped off by shonky operators,” Mr Kean said.
“NSW consumers are incredibly generous, donating and bequeathing around $5 billion every year to registered charities.
“Consumers have every right to know their money is being used benevolently, and not being mismanaged or used for fraudulent or unrelated reasons.”
The Bill proposes amendments to the Charitable Fundraising Act (1991) that will allow the government to launch a public inquiry into suspicious fundraising activities and the people associated with them.
Public inquiries will be conducted by a retired or current judge of a state Supreme Court, the Federal Court or the High Court, and will involve strong new powers.
The amendments will allow the head of the inquiry to compel witnesses to attend hearings, answer questions, and provide documents.
Mr Kean said an arrest warrant could also be issued if witnesses refused to appear.
“This Bill will give the government powers to flush out anyone who is running a dodgy charity or misappropriating funds donated to a legitimate charity,” he said.
“Through these changes we are not only putting consumers first, but we are also supporting the thousands of above-board charities that are fundraising legitimately, and doing valuable work with vulnerable communities right across NSW.”