To amend the current Coptic Orthodox Church Property Trust (NSW) Amendment Bill 2003.

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Major changes sought are to the change of the sole trustee, being the Bishop of the Diocese of Sydney and Affiliated Regions to a board of trustees.

Why is change needed:

1. The bishop of the Diocese of Sydney is the sole trustee and currently can do the following:

a. He is the sole decision maker;

b. He can buy, sell and borrow without any other signatories;

c. He can override the decisions of all committees in the diocese.

d. There are no restrictions on his ability to mortgage any properties of the diocese.

2.  If the Bishop/sole trustee dies, the diocese property will not be managed by any of the following, until a new bishop is appointed:

a.  The Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria;

b. A temporary bishop or member of the clergy.

3. If the bishop is unable to perform his duties due to mental or physical illness:

a. The bishop will continue to be able to exercise his powers under the act;

b. No interim or temporary bishop or member of the clergy can deal with the property of the trust.

4. The bishop does not have to act according to any customs or rules or decisions handed down by the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria:

5. The Bishop has the option but not obligation to make bylaws in regards to the control, management and administration of the Diocese's assets, without those bylaws necessarily being aligned with the customs or rules or decisions handed down by the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria;

6. There are no limitations in regards to the sole trustee dealing with Diocese property or finances without approval from the Diocese or the Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria; and

7. The bishop, as sole trustee is the only one who keeps the seal (stamp) and is the sole signatory.

Reasons why these changes are sought:

1. To protect and preserve the church and its assets for future generations.

2. To ensure transparency and that the standards of good governance;

3. To ensure legal and ethical practices are followed; and

4. To preserve the Coptic Orthodox customs, traditions and practices. 

For more detailed information in relation to this issue please refer to the following documents:

Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Sydney and Affiliated Regions:

Comparison table between the 1990, 2003 Amendment Act and the 2006 Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Melbourne Act:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B-RtfggrXpqPa1hXV1k3NEdIZk0

Coptic Orthodox Church (NSW) Property Trust Act 1990 (NSW):

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/num_act/cocpta1990n67545.pdf

The Coptic Orthodox Church (NSW) Property Trust Amendment Bill 2003:

https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/acts/2003-67.pdf

The Coptic Orthodox Church (Victoria) Property Trust Act 2006:

http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdb/au/legis/vic/consol_act/cocpta2006554/

Russian Orthodox Church:

http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/nsw/consol_act//rocpta1991552/s4.html

Greek Orthodox Church:

http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/goaoacta1994566/s4.html

Anglican Church:

http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdb/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/acoatpa1917459/

 



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