Section 1 – Review by the Commissioner

Review by the Commissioner

ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe AM

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) came into operation on 3 December 2012. This annual report covers the first seven months of our operation to 30 June 2013.

Charities are essential to the wellbeing of the community - they enrich Australia’s culture, strengthen our democracy, contribute to good public policy and advocate on behalf of individuals. They conduct essential work caring for vulnerable people, protecting the environment, educating children, promoting good health and enabling us to practise our faith.

This report demonstrates the unique approach that the ACNC has taken in our dealings with charities. We strive to be a supportive, accessible and responsive regulator. Our aim is to assist the charity sector to meet their obligations as easily as possible, thus allowing them to continue to carry out the important work they do within the Australian community.

In establishing the ACNC it was recognised that the pre-existing regulatory framework was complex and the information requirements imposed by various government agencies were duplicative and burdensome on charities. To address this, not-for-profit (NFP) reform was identified as a government priority.

The establishment of the ACNC through the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 (Cth) (ACNC Act) was a key element of this reform.

Since opening our doors, we have had a dual focus - establishing the daily operations of the ACNC and working towards the achievement of the objects of the ACNC Act, specifically to:

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

This annual report describes the projects and tasks conducted towards the realisation of our goals. It also highlights the achievements we have made so far. In this report we refer to registered charities as ‘charities’ unless the context suggests otherwise.