The ACNC Act sets out what are known as "internally reviewable decisions".

These decisions are ones that, if requested to, the ACNC must reconsider on the merits of the case. This action must occur before any other review or appeal action can be taken.

Internally reviewable decisions set out in the ACNC Act are:

  • Registration decisions – decisions not to register a charity, or not to register it as the type of charity applied for
  • Revocation decisions – decisions to revoke, or not revoke, a charity’s registration
  • ACNC direction decisions – decisions to give, vary or not change a formal ACNC direction. The ACNC can provide formal directions to charities to ensure they meet the requirements of the ACNC Act
  • Decisions relating to Responsible Persons – decisions to suspend or remove a person from their position on a charity’s governing body. This includes the length of any suspension given
  • Administrative penalties decisions – decisions to refuse to remit the whole or part of an administrative penalty of more than two penalty units that the ACNC has imposed on a charity, Responsible Person or third party.

Asking the ACNC to conduct an internal review

You can ask for an internal review by:

  • making an application on the 'Ask the ACNC to review a decision' form, available in the ACNC Charity Portal
  • submitting the completed form within 60 days of the ACNC giving you the original decision
  • explaining in detail the reasons you object to the decision and are seeking a review.

The ACNC will use your form as a basis for reviewing the decision, so it is important that it clearly states both the decision you are unhappy with and all the reasons why you believe the original decision was wrong.

The ACNC Act does not specifically define what the effect on the original decision will be in these circumstances.

We have decided depending on the nature of the original decision and its impacts that we may not implement it straight away. Instead we will examine whether it is in the public interest to do so.

If the decision is likely to affect a charity or Responsible Person’s existing interests, we will generally assume that it is in the public interest not to implement the original decision until the internal review is over.

Please read the Commissioner's Policy Statement on reviews and appeals for more information on the public interest considerations we will examine when deciding whether or not to implement the original decision.

Members of the public can still apply for a review beyond the 60-day threshold. In doing so, they must inform the ACNC of the reasons why they were unable to meet the deadline, and give us their completed 'Ask the ACNC to review a decision' form.

Once the ACNC receives such a request, we will decide whether or not to accept the late application for internal review. We will write to the applicant with our decision.

If we agree to accept the late application, we will treat it as if it had been lodged on time. If we do not agree to accept the late application, the applicant can ask the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) to review our decision.

Find out more about applying to the AAT.

If you lodge the 'Ask the ACNC to review a decision' form, and formally disagree with an internally reviewable decision, the ACNC must review the decision you are unhappy about and make a new decision.

We can:

  • make a new decision completely different from the one you were unhappy with
  • make a new decision partly different from the one you were unhappy with, or
  • agree with the original decision.

A new decision made as a result of internal review under the ACNC Act is called an ‘objection decision’. We will inform you of our objection decision in writing, and give reasons for that decision.

The ACNC will always try to communicate with you about our review and give you our objection decision within a reasonable time.

If we do not, under the ACNC Act you can apply to require the ACNC to make its objection decision. You can only ask for this if we have still not made our objection decision 60 days after:

  • the ACNC received your 'Ask the ACNC to review a decision' form or
  • you have supplied any additional information we have requested about your form, whichever is later.

If we do not make an objection decision within 60 days of you submitting the request, the ACNC is taken to have disallowed the objection, meaning we we have decided not to change our original decision.

If you do not agree with our objection decision, please contact us to discuss the decision and your options.

If you disagree with our objection decision, you can ask the AAT to review our objection decision. Find out more about applying to the AAT.

You can also appeal the objection decision directly to a court. Going to court can be expensive and time consuming, but there might be times when you would prefer to appeal to a court instead of asking the AAT to review the decision.

You can also appeal to a court if the decision is not an internally reviewable decision under the ACNC Act.