The Australian Institute of Company Directors’ Louise Petschler provides a monthly round-up of the Advocacy team’s projects
Superannuation governance on the agenda
The AICD has provided input on draft legislation that, amongst other things, aims to mandate a new ‘annual members’ meeting’, expand APRA’s direction powers and introduce a new civil penalty regime for super fund directors.
In our submission, we endorsed the government’s aims of improving accountability and member outcomes. Given the significance of the superannuation system to all Australians, strengthening governance across the sector is an important policy objective.
While we support the idea of a mandatory ‘annual member’s meeting’ the AICD has urged the government to reduce the degree of prescription around how meetings would be run. We support allowing meetings to be held ‘virtually’ and providing some flexibility to funds.
The AICD has also offered qualified support for the proposed civil penalty regime for RSE Licensee directors. We have argued for more consideration of the interaction of the proposed regime with the existing penalties in superannuation laws and called for more checks and balances in relation to the regulator’s powers of discovery and directions.
For further information about this work, contact our policy adviser Matt McGirr at MMcGirr@aicd.com.au.
Sensible reforms for tax deductible charities
The AICD has supported proposals to streamline the administration of the charity tax deductible gift receipt (DGR) system, which is currently fragmented across a number of government departments and inconsistent in its application.
In response to a Treasury consultation, the AICD has supported proposals to:
- Require all DGR charities that are non-government entities to become registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC);
- Bring the administration of the four DGR registers under the Australian Taxation Office; and
- Verify the integrity of existing DGR entities, especially those that are specifically listed under tax law.
We believe these proposals will reduce red tape for charities, provide a greater level of transparency and public accountability about the activities of DGRs and, in doing so, support charitable giving.
However, the consultation paper also contemplates placing additional reporting burdens on DGRs that undertake advocacy activities. For example, one proposal considers requiring that environmental charities with DGR status devote a certain proportion of their revenue (between 25 and 50 per cent) to environmental remediation.
The AICD has submitted that such requirements would create significant additional regulatory burden without providing public benefit to offset such an increase.
Bringing all non-government DGRs under the regulation of the ACNC will ensure that they are subject to a specialist regulatory regime and a standardised reporting framework. The AICD believes that this will be sufficient to address the concerns raised in the consultation paper regarding DGRs that undertake advocacy activity.
Further, the AICD has endorsed the valuable role that charities play in national public debate which should not be diminished as a result of these reforms.
For further information about this work, contact our senior policy adviser Lucas Ryan at LRyan@aicd.com.au.
Chair’s Mentoring Program Launches for 2017–18
The AICD’s flagship diversity initiative, the Chair’s Mentoring Program is now underway.
Now in its fifth year, the program is a practical initiative that aims to assist women on their directorship career journey and to increase representation of women on ASX200 boards.
It provides board-ready women a unique opportunity to gain knowledge and develop their networks with some of Australia’s most influential business leaders.
This year we received a record 438 applications from highly qualified and talented emerging female directors. The standard of applications was incredibly high, further demonstrating the breadth and depth of female talent in the director marketplace.
Fifty-six mentees were chosen consisting of two from the ACT, two from Tasmania, six from WA, four from SA, six also from Queensland, 14 from Victoria and 22 from NSW.
Since its inception in 2010, more than 250 women have completed the Chair’s Mentoring Program. It has proven to be a highly valued professional development tool and plays a critical role in highlighting the benefits of board diversity.
To find out more about the program, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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