The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is warning of a heightened risk for charities sending money overseas.

The ACNC is encouraging these charities to attend free briefings in Sydney and Melbourne in July.

The briefings are designed to help charities understand the obligations associated with sending funds overseas, and the steps they can take to make sure these funds are protected and used for their intended charitable purpose.

ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe AM said many charities operate overseas and do vital work for communities around the world, but that they needed to be mindful of the risk of funds being used for illegal or improper purposes.

“According the ACNC Charity Register, over 4 000 charities operate overseas, and undertake a range of essential and often life-saving work,” Ms Pascoe said.

“However, operating in or sending funds overseas comes with a range of risks, as it can be difficult having full control of activities in some foreign countries.

“Most alarming is the risk that funds are used to finance terrorism.

“Charities were found to be a key channel for terrorism financing in the AUSTRAC Report, Terrorism financing in Australia 2014, so it is very important that charities are vigilant and protect themselves.”

Ms Pascoe said that the ACNC is here to help charities.

“These briefings are part of our proactive approach to making sure charities working overseas are fully aware of the risks, but are also empowered with the knowledge to make sure their funds are used for their charitable purpose.”

Other Commonwealth Government departments including AUSTRAC, the Australian Federal Police and the Deparment of Foreign Affairs and Trade will also be sharing information, as well as the Australian Council for International Development and Integritas360.

Charities will also have an opportunity to ask questions during a Q&A panel discussion.

Charities can register for the Sydney session (9 July, 9.30 am –12.30 pm, State Library of NSW) here: https://acncbriefing-sydney.eventbrite.com.au

Charities can register for the Melbourne session (23 July, 9.30 am –12.30 pm, State Library of Victoria) here: https://acncbriefing-melbourne.eventbrite.com.au

For more information about protecting your charity against these risks, including the ACNC's Checklist: protecting your charity against the risk of terrorism financing, visit acnc.gov.au/protect

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ACNC Media Contact

media@acnc.gov.au or 0466 089 108.