Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is the regulatory authority for charities and not-for-profit organisations within Australia. The Commission was established in December 2012 as part of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 passed by the federal parliament, and is responsible for registering charities and non-profit organisations, ensuring their compliance with Australian law, and for keeping a public register of registered organisations.

Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission
Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission logo.svg
Commission overview
Formed3 December 2012 (2012-12-03)[1]
JurisdictionAustralia
Commission executive
Parent departmentTreasury[1]
Websiteacnc.gov.au

Purpose and responsibilitiesEdit

The ACNC was created to achieve three fundamental goals towards improving charities and not-for-profits:[2]

  • maintain, protect, and enhance public trust and confidence in the Australian not-for-profit sector
  • support and sustain a robust, vibrant, independent, and innovative not-for-profit sector
  • promote the reduction of unnecessary regulatory obligations on the sector.

As part of this, the ACNC is responsible for managing charity and not-for-profit registrations, supporting organisations in being compliant with Australian regulation, and demonstrating the importance of charities and not-for-profits to the public. In this, the Commission works with state and territory governments and agencies to standardise legislation and regulation across the nation.[2] The ACNC also operates a public register of charities or not-for-profits, the ACNC Charity Register, which lists organisation details, their purpose, as well as financial matters and any regulatory history.[3]

The ACNC also publishes an annual review of the sector, The Australian Charities Report.[4]

FundraisingEdit

The ACNC is also responsible for overseeing all fundraising activities by Australian charities and profits. Despite this, the Commission can only take regulatory action against organisations in limited circumstances.[5] Instead, most regulatory action is done by state and territory agencies, and some federal agencies (ASIC, ORIC, ACCC. and the ATO).[6] When fundraising, organisations have several obligations under Australian Consumer Law. Charities and not-for-profits must not be misleading, deceptive, or demonstrate unconscionable behaviour, nor make false or misleading representations in relation to the supply of 'goods and services'.[7]

HistoryEdit

The ACNC was established under Chapter 5 of the federal Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012, which received assent on 3 December 2012.[8]

On 16 June 2014, a parliamentary report of the Australian Senate's Standing Committees on Economics recommended that the ACNC be abolished to "relieve the regulatory burden from many charities", and instead form a National Centre for Excellence as an "advocate for the sector and a leader in innovation".[9] The bill lapsed in April 2016 in the House of Representatives.[10]

On 4 March 2016, Minister of Social Services, Christian Porter and Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer, Kelly O'Dwyer, announced that the ACNC would continue.[11]

In a move criticised by some charities, the Turnbull Government appointed former Labor politician Gary Johns as Commissioner of the ACNC.[12] Jones has been known for criticising the role of charities and the amount of government funding provided to them.[13]

In 2017, the Treasury completed a review of the legislation enabling the ACNC five years after the Commission began. Chaired by Patrick McClure, the review was tabled on 22 August 2018 and was welcomed and responded to by the ACNC on 6 March 2020.[14][15]

See alsoEdit

  • Treasury, the Commission's parent department

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012". Federal Register of Legislation. 15 April 2016. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "About us". Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  3. ^ "About the ACNC Charity Register". Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
  4. ^ "Charity sector research". Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
  5. ^ "Charities and fundraising". Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
  6. ^ "List of regulators that may affect charities". Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
  7. ^ "Fundraising and the Australian Consumer Law - a summary". Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
  8. ^ "Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012". Federal Register of Legislation. 15 April 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  9. ^ Bushby, David (June 2014). "Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Repeal) (No. 1) Bill 2014 [Provisions]" (PDF). Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  10. ^ "Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Repeal) (No. 1) Bill 2014". Parliament of Australia. 15 April 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  11. ^ Porter, Christian (4 March 2016). "Retention of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission". Former Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  12. ^ Williams, Wendy (9 February 2018). "Government Accused of Undermining Australia's Charities". Pro bono Australia. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  13. ^ Hunter, Fergus (7 December 2017). "Charities express alarm as long-time 'foe' Gary Johns is appointed as their regulator". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  14. ^ "Review of Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) legislation". Treasury. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  15. ^ "Government response to ACNC Legislation Review". Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. 6 March 2020. Retrieved 18 June 2020.

External linksEdit