Investigation powers - patriotic funds

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Under the Veterans Act 2005, the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria monitors the compliance of trustees and the administration of patriotic funds. 

Under section 58, the director can require a person to provide any information or documents that they reasonably consider necessary to determine whether that person (or any other person):

  • has complied with the Act, or 
  • is administering or has administered or might have administered a patriotic fund, or 
  • is raising or has raised or might have raised money contrary to the Act.

Under section 61, an inspector can enter any premises at any reasonable hour in the daytime and at any other time the premises is open for business and can:

  • inspect the premises and any thing on the premises 
  • search for any evidence of any contravention of the Act 
  • make copies or take extracts from documents on the premises 
  • seize anything on the premises if the inspector believes on reasonable grounds that it is necessary to seize the thing in order to prevent its loss, concealment or destruction, and 
  • use any assistants the inspector considers necessary.

These powers allow the director to: 

  • audit accounts and records to ensure trustees have not breached the law 
  • attend the premises of a fund to be re-assured that the premises are being used for the purposes of the fund.

Where an inspector has reasonable grounds to believe that premises contain evidence of the commission of an offence under the Act, they can apply to a magistrate for a search warrant to enter and search the premises.

It is an offence not to comply with a request for information, and to hinder or obstruct an inspector. However, a person can refuse to give information or assist an inspector searching the premises, if this could amount to that person admitting they had committed an offence. 

A company or incorporated association cannot refuse to give information or assistance on this basis.

An person cannot refuse to produce a document to the director or an inspector on this basis, but may refuse to explain its contents if this could amount to that person admitting they had committed an offence.