Today the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) opened its doors as Australia’s first national, independent regulator of the not-for-profit (NFP) sector.

The introduction of the ACNC was announced in the 2011 Federal Budget and is the culmination of numerous reports into the sector, including the 2010 Productivity Commission Report Contribution of the NFP Sector.

The Government intends to recommend to the Governor General the appointment of Susan Pascoe AM as the inaugural Commissioner of the ACNC. Ms Pascoe has been the Interim Commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and head of the ACNC Taskforce since 1 July 2011.

Ms Pascoe said that the establishment of the ACNC is a significant and exciting time for the NFP sector.

“There are some 56 000 charities in Australia, all of whom provide vital services to our community,” Ms Pascoe said.

“Our role as the national regulator is to ensure that these charities continue making valuable contributions to the community, while helping to maintain and enhance the public’s trust and confidence in their work.

“Charities in Australia have acknowledged that there is a need for a dedicated and specialist regulator, and that transparency is important when the public’s funds are involved.

“As a regulator, we are committed to finding the right balance between education and guidance, and reporting and compliance. We want to ensure that charities are able to comply with the legislation, but can still focus on their core purpose.

“Our priority from day one is to support the sector through this period of change, and I would like to encourage people to contact our advice line, 13 ACNC (13 2262), or visit our website, www.acnc.gov.au, if they need any advice or information.

"We are committed to red tape reduction and will work with other government agencies to achieve this."

The ACNC has responsibility for registering charities, providing education and support, maintaining the ACNC Register, and ensuring compliance through annual reporting.

The ACNC is committed to working closely with state and territory governments to reduce red tape and simplify reporting.

The formal launch of the ACNC will be held next Monday, 10 December 2012 in Melbourne.