ACNC releases Interpretation Statement on Health Promotion Charities

The ACNC has released an exposure draft of the Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement on the meaning and scope of the Health Promotion Charity sub-type. The Statement outlines the approach the ACNC will adopt in interpreting the definition of an HPC and assessing future HPC applications.

The Statement provides that HPCs have a narrower focus than charities which advance health.  An HCP must satisfy all the elements of its definition, such as “institution”, “principal activity” and “diseases in human beings”.

For example, an HPC’s principal activity must be to promote the prevention or control of diseases in human beings.  The Statement provides examples of HPCs that have been registered by the ACNC, including an institution whose principal activity was the provision of mental health nurses and paediatric staff to rural communities and an institution that provides sexual health and STI awareness classes for young people.  Improving general health and wellbeing is insufficient.

The ACNC will take into account public submissions in finalising the draft Interpretation Statement.  Submissions will close on 15 February 2015.

To view the draft Interpretation Statement, click here.


Federal Coalition reintroduces Bill to abolish the ACNC

We previously reported on the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Repeal) (No. 1) Bill 2014 (Cth) which, if passed, would abolish the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (“ACNC”) and establish various transitional arrangements.  On 3 December 2014, the Coalition reintroduced the Bill into the House of Representatives.

To view our previous reports on the Bill, click herehere or here.

Private Health Insurance Amendment Act (No. 1) 2014 (Cth)

The Act received Royal Asset on 26 November 2014 and amended section 22-45 of the Private Health Insurance Act 2007(Cth) to pause the income thresholds which determine the tiers for the Medicare levy surcharge and government rebate on private health insurance for three years (until the end of the 2017-18 financial year).

Private Health Insurance Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2014 (Cth)

On 4 December 2014, the Bill was introduced into Parliament.  The Bill proposes to introduce a Private Health Insurance Ombudsman, whose role would be to protect the interests of people who are covered by private health insurance.  The role of the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman would include hearing, investigating and reporting to the Health Minister on complaints about matters arising out of or connected with private health insurance arrangements.  The Bill is currently before the House of Representatives.

To view the Bill, click here.

Drug Legislation Amendment (Cannabis for Medical Purposes) Bill 2014(NSW)

The Bill was introduced into the New South Wales Parliament on 20 November 2014 and proposes, among other things, to introduce a scheme for the lawful use of cannabis by registered patients in order to relieve a serious medical condition.  The Private Member’s Bill is currently before the Legislative Council.

To view the Bill, click here.


Surgical Workforce - Recent Research

Michael Gorton AM

Russell Kennedy Principal, Michael Gorton AM, is a contributor to a recent research paper published in relation to Australia’s surgical workforce (“Educational and health impact of the Baume Report: ‘A Cutting Edge:  Australia’s Surgical Workforce”, Australian Health Review 2014, 30, 487-494).

The lead contributor, Associate Professor David Hillis, CEO of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, has correlated the recommendations of the “Baume Report (1994)” and its recommendations to determine the impact upon surgical education and training in Australia since that time.

To read the full article, click here.


Medibank Private Share Offer raises $5.679 billion

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has announced that the Medibank Private Share Offer has been successfully completed and will return $5.679 billion in proceeds for reinvestment into job-creating infrastructure.

One hundred per cent of the shares have been sold, after the Government set a final price for institutional investors at $2.15 per share, with the final price for retail investors being set at the retail price cap of $2.00 per share.

A progressive scaling policy has been applied to the various categories of offers to ensure all applicants have been allocated shares.  Larger applications have been scaled back in preference to smaller applications.

Transaction confirmation statements were sent to successful applications from 4 December 2014.

To view the media release, click here.

Final NSW Committee Report on the Promotion of False and Misleading Health-Related Information and Practices

On 20 November 2014, the NSW Parliament’s Health Complaints Committee tabled its final report in its Inquiry into the Promotion of False and Misleading Health-Related Information and Practices.  The Committee found, among other things, that doubts remain as to whether the Health Care Complaints Commission can fully investigate all instances of potentially unsafe medical treatments and dangerous information and that more could be done to protect patients.

Accordingly, the Committee recommended several amendments to the Health Care Complaints Act 1993 (NSW), including:

  1. broadening the definition of “health service” to ensure more individuals are captured and do not escape investigation;
  2. strengthening the HCCC’s power to issue public warnings; and
  3. broadening the categories of parties that can bring complaints under the Act.

The Committee has also recommended that NSW Health and the HCCC provide more information to address misleading claims and that an interagency committee be established to enable separate authorities, particularly the HCCC and NSW Fair Trading, to share expertise and perform joint investigations.

To view the report, click here.