Australians entrust charities to deliver critical services – education, research, healthcare, social services, religion and emergency relief just to name a few. And every day Australians enable charities to do this important work through their generosity and support.
According to the Australian Charities Report 2016, nearly 3 million Australians volunteered for a charity, and together, we gave $10.5 billion as donations or bequests.
It is important that Australians can continue to support charities with confidence. We know that a single charity doing the wrong thing can have a damaging effect on the reputation of the entire charity sector, so our role in maintaining, protecting and enhancing public trust and confidence in the sector is critically important.
In 2018, with support from Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), we identified charities at risk of misuse and worked with them to strengthen their processes and procedures.
Even large iconic charities are at risk of being misused, as we saw with Guide Dogs Victoria, who share their story in this report. This is the first time we have featured a real case study in our annual compliance report, and I applaud Guide Dogs Victoria for being willing to share their experience. You can read the Guide Dogs Victoria case study, which was written by the charity, on page 3. Guide Dogs Victoria faced fraud head on and demonstrated a swift, thorough and transparent response. The charity has no doubt emerged stronger than before.
Charities should discuss fraud internally to better understand what it is, and how it may occur within their organisation. Staff and volunteers should always feel that they can report their concerns.