All people and organisations are required to comply with relevant legislation to which they are subject. This includes prescribed laws, regulations and by-laws. Organisations need to determine their legislative obligations. The following is some of the primary legislation that may need to be considered when applying for a grant.
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Associations Incorporations Act 1991
Incorporation is voluntary. It is a system of registration that gives organisations legal status and places certain legal responsibilities upon them. It is suggested that groups considering incorporation review the legislation and associated supporting information before making a decision to incorporate.
Food Act 2001/Food Regulation 2002
Relevant if an organisation is handling food intended for sale, or sells food. The purpose is to ensure that food is safe and suitable for human consumption. Some food businesses may be exempt being registered as a food business, if they handle or sell that is either:
(A) non-potentially hazardous and not contained in a closed package; or
(B) sold, straight after thorough cooking, for immediate consumption; and
(ii) the food business handles or sells food during no more than 5 periods a year, and each period when it sells food is no longer than 3 days;
(b) the food business handles or sells food in or from a food transport vehicle that is registered under a State law that corresponds to the Act;
(c) a food business that transports food but does not otherwise handle or sell food;
(d) a food business that sells only food that is -
(i) contained in a closed package intended for sale; and
(ii) non-potentially hazardous;
(e) a food business that only sells, through a vending machine, food that is non-potentially hazardous.
Taxation Act 2003
This Act is relevant to all organisations. This Act outlines what taxes are liable to be paid. In particular Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT).
Annual Leave Act 1973
Outlines requirements for annual leave. Employees are entitled to annual leave at the end of every year of employment.
Long Service Leave Act 1976
Outlines requirements for long service leave. For example, an employee who has completed 7 years service with a single employer is entitled to long service leave for the period of the service.
Occupational Health and Safety Act 1989
Under this Act organisations have an obligation to take all reasonably practicable steps to provide a safe working environment for staff, volunteers and visitors. This includes, but is not limited to providing safe equipment, providing safe systems of work, providing adequate facilities for the welfare of employees at work, monitoring employees' health and safety at work, and ensuring that employees are provided with the necessary information, instruction, training and supervision.
Relevant Regulations include:
- Occupational Health and Safety (General) Regulation 2007
- Occupational Health and Safety (Manual Handling) Regulation 1997
Charitable Collections Act 2003
This Act specifies that groups (companies, associations, unincorporated bodies) wishing to raise money for a charitable purpose must be licenced if they intend to collect more than $15,000 in the Territory in any given 12 month period. The legislation aims to promote proper management, administration, record keeping and auditing of accounts for charitable collections, as well as ensuring that the public has access to information about charitable collections. Some organisations will be exempt, so check the website for details.
Children and Young People Act 2008
This Act is relevant to organisations that come into contact with children or young people or their families during the course of its work.
The Act provides for the protection, care and wellbeing of children and young people in the ACT. Included are requirements for mandatory reporting of suspected abuse and non-accidental physical injury.
It also regulates youth justice, employment of children and young people, and child care.
Crimes Act 1900
This Act provides information on criminal offences, and includes offences as employers such as industrial manslaughter.
Disability Services Act 1991
The Act aims to ensure that people with disabilities receive services that enable them to achieve their maximum potential and participation in the community. It provides a legislative and funding framework for a range of disability services, most significantly employment services. It specifies that services are to complement those available generally to people in the community, and are to enable people with disabilities to achieve increased independence, employment opportunities and integration in the community.
Discrimination Act 1991
The principle purposes are to eliminate, as far as possible, discrimination and sexual harassment, and to promote recognition and acceptance within the community of the principle of equality of opportunity for all people and the equality of men and women.
According to this Act it is an offence to discriminate against someone in recruitment, employment, training or provision of services on the basis of the groups specified in the Act. This includes sex, religion, race, disability, and age.
Education Act 2004
This Act is relevant to those organisations providing services to schools. It outlines the principles of high-quality education, and regulates non government schools.
Human Rights Act 2004
The purpose of the Act is to protect people’s civil and political rights, and fundamental freedoms. For example, everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his or her choice.
Human Rights Commission Act 2005
The main object of the Act is to promote the human rights and welfare of people living in the ACT, by establishing a commission. One of the responsibilities of the commission is to provide an independent, fair and accessible process for the resolution of discrimination complaints and complaints between users and providers of disability services, health services, services for children and young people and services for older people.
See Human Rights Commission Act 2005 for further details of duties of the commission.
Privacy Act 1988
Relevant to all organisations who maintain private records, including staff details and client information.
This Act specifies that organisations are required to have systems in place for ensuring the privacy of personal information held by the organisation.
Duty of Care
Duty of care is an obligation that people have in the circumstances when acting toward others and the public. If a person’s actions are not made with care, attention, caution, and prudence, their actions are considered negligent.
Organisations my wish to implement a procedure for obtaining consent for services, which informs services users in relation to their care and treatment.
Ethical practice issues
A Code of Ethics can be described as a set of standards, to guide professional behaviour, based on the belief systems or values of a group of people who agree to adhere to commonly held philosophical principles. An example is The Youth Work Code of Ethics (ACT) www.youthcoalition.net , which includes guidelines for maintaining confidentiality, and professional boundaries.
Organisations receiving grants may be required to obtain insurance, depending on the nature of the project, for example:
- Workers compensation insurance (protection to workers and employers)
- Public and/or product liability (see below)
- Professional indemnity (see below)
- Volunteer personal injury and liability (protection to volunteers)
Professional indemnity insurance is appropriate when the organisation is providing professional advice or information to others. The insurance protects you from legal action taken for losses incurred as a result of your advice or information. It provides indemnity cover if your client suffers a loss that is directly attributed to negligent acts. ACTIA is available to advise on the necessity for this type of insurance.
Public liability insurance protects you and your organisation against the financial risk of being found liable to a third party for death or injury, loss or damage of property or ‘pure economic’ loss resulting from your negligence. To assist in determining your risk rating and therefore the amount of public liability insurance required visit the ACT Public Liability Insurance Risk Advisory website (link below).
Product liability insurance is required if your organisation sells, supplies or delivers goods. The insurance covers damage or injury caused to others by the failure of your product or the product you are selling.
Some insurance coverage is required by law.
Further information about insurance requirements is available from:
- ACT Treasury ph. 6207 0318
- ACT Public Liability Insurance Risk Advisory website
In regards to police checks, at present there are no legal statutes in the ACT that require people working with children to undergo a police check, although individual organisations may have their own policies in this regard.
The ACT Government is developing a ‘Working with Vulnerable People Checks’ system for the ACT to assist in reducing the incidence of abuse of vulnerable persons. Abuse can include physical, sexual, financial, psychological, social abuse and neglect.
Once the system is implemented, certain employees and volunteers who work with vulnerable people will be required to undergo a criminal record check and other background checks prior to engagement.
Persons deemed to pose an unacceptable risk will be disqualified from working with vulnerable persons. For more information on the project contact Community Services Directorate's Consumer Advocacy and Quality Service at email@example.com or ph: 62058329.
Public Benevolent Institution (PBI) Status
If your organisation is considered to be a PBI, it must be endorsed by the Tax Office to access tax concessions such as income tax exemption. See www.ato.gov.au for further information.
Organisations should think about all possible risks, and set up procedures to avoid risk, minimise its impact, or cope with its impact.
Further information may be obtained at Management Alternatives for Human Services or Government of South Australia