An update from Tony Stuart - Chair of the ACNC Advisory Board

The ACNC Advisory Board's most recent meeting was held online in mid-November, with board members hearing from a number of guest speakers on varied topics relating to the charity sector.

The ACNC Advisory Board is made up of seven sector leaders and experts in charity law, taxation, and accounting and policy, as well as state government officials.

The Federal Minister responsible for the ACNC appoints the board, which also provides advice to the ACNC Commissioner on issues, valuable insights into the Australian charity sector, and input towards the Commissioner’s functions under the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 (ACNC Act).

Keynote speakers for the November meeting were:

  • Jennifer Moltisanti - ATO Assistant Commissioner, Not-for-profit Centre
  • Mel Yates - ACNC's Director of Reporting, Red Tape Reduction and Corporate Services
  • Claire Robbs - CEO of Life Without Barriers
  • Liz Cruickshank - Secretary to the Property Trusts for the Salvation Army

Jennifer Moltisanti provided the board with an overview of the ATO Not-for-profit Centre's work, while Mel Yates spoke about updates to grants disclosure guidance. This guidance aims to further enhance transparency and to encourage charities to be more open about their grants sources.

Mergers in the charity sector were the focus of Claire and Liz's presentations to the board.

Claire's presentation focused on the five mergers Life Without Barriers had undertaken in the past five years, detailing some of the challenges faced when merging.

Liz provided an overview as to how The Salvation Army's eight Australian property trusts operate, as well as outcomes of how two former Australian Territories of The Salvation Army became one.

ACNC Commissioner, the Hon Dr Gary Johns, provided an update on the ACNC Quarterly Report, the Charity Marketplace, and on ACNC operations whilst staff have been working remotely. The board also discussed the impact COVID-19 has had on the charity and not-for-profit sectors.

The next meeting of the board has been scheduled for February 2021.