Licence a shot in arm for AVN

THE controversial Australian Vaccination Network has started collecting memberships and seeking donations for the first time in almost two years after being reinstated with its charity fundraising licence.

The reinstatement has angered AVN opponents who believe the group is getting credibility it does not deserve.

The NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing stripped the Bangalow-based group, which is criticised for acting as an anti-vaccination organisation, of its fundraising authority in October 2010 after an investigation found the organisation breached fundraising laws.

Part of the reason for the revocation was the Health Care and Complaints Commission's decision in July 2010 to issue a public warning about what it deemed to be misleading information from the AVN.

In February this year, the AVN claimed a small victory when the NSW Supreme Court ruled the HCCC was outside of its jurisdiction when it issued its warning.

The network claimed another win on Tuesday night when AVN spokeswoman Meryl Dorey received confirmation from the OLGR it was reinstating the group's charity licence.

Ken McLeod, of Stop the AVN, said the OLGR seemed to have disregarded the frauds and regulatory breaches it found during a 2010 audit into the AVN. He said reinstating the licence gave the AVN credibility it didn't deserve.

"We are a little surprised, but the campaign will continue," he said.

An OLRG spokesman said it issued the AVN with a new charity fundraising authority after assessing a new application.

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