Consultation on code to improve charity transparency during natural disasters

Australian Treasury

The Government is today releasing a consultation paper, developed in collaboration with the charities sector, that identifies possible features of a voluntary code to improve the transparency around the use of charitable donations during natural disasters.

Recent natural disasters, such as the Black Summer bushfires, have demonstrated that without transparent communication from charities there can be a mismatch between the expectations of donors and how their funds are used by charities.

Transparent communication from charities involved in responses to natural disasters is key to supporting public understanding of the recovery process and assuring donors and the wider public that their donations are funding critical recovery activities. Strong public trust will drive continued donations, allowing charities to continue to provide crucial services to recovering communities.

The Government established a working group of charity representatives, including the Australian Red Cross, BlazeAid, the Minderoo Foundation and RSPCA Australia, to work with Treasury officials to develop a voluntary Transparency Code aimed at providing charities with a framework for transparent reporting of disaster recovery fundraising and activities.

The consultation paper released today identifies five possible features of the Transparency Code which the working group considers will be key to ensuring the Code is a workable and effective solution to improving transparency. These features include prescribing specific information for charities to report, including how donations are used, and minimum reporting frequencies.

The Government is seeking views from charities and the public on these features.

The paper is available on the Treasury website and will be open for submissions for four weeks until 13 August 2021.

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