The national charity regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), has revoked the charity status of Aussie Farms Inc following an investigation.
Revocation of charity status takes away the organisation’s Commonwealth charity tax concessions, including income tax exemption, fringe benefits tax rebates and goods and services tax concessions. The revocation will appear on the ACNC Charity Register record for Aussie Farms Inc.
Aussie Farms was registered by the ACNC effective 1 January 2018, with the purpose of preventing or relieving the suffering of animals.
The investigation into the charity was completed on 18 November 2019, with the decision to revoke charity status effective from that date.
ACNC Commissioner, the Hon Dr Gary Johns, said revocation of charity status was reserved for the most serious of cases.
“Charities must stick to their purpose, and maintain their obligations under the ACNC Act, Charities Act and adhere to Governance Standards.”
In his Commissioner’s column on 24 January 2019, the ACNC Commissioner acknowledged media reports relating to Aussie Farms Inc, and although unable to comment on specific issues, reassured the public that the ACNC takes all concerns about registered charities seriously and will investigate and take compliance action as appropriate.
Dr Johns said: “In taking compliance and enforcement action, the ACNC follows its Regulatory Approach Statement to ensure that matters are investigated properly, the appropriate compliance action is taken, and our regulatory action is proportionate to the problems we seek to address.
“Where we decide to take compliance action, the affected charity has rights of review and appeal, including through external forums such as the AAT, and therefore we must also ensure that we follow proper decision-making principles. We aim to complete investigations as efficiently as possible, whilst ensuring that our processes are robust and fair.”
Although the revocation is reflected on the Register, the ACNC is prevented from publishing the findings from investigations, or the nature of the concerns, due to secrecy provisions in the ACNC Act.
He added: “By revoking the charity registration of Aussie Farms Inc, the organisation is no longer able to access Commonwealth charity tax concessions.
“Revocation of charity status is the most serious action the ACNC can take.”
If members of the public have concerns about a charity, they’re encouraged to raise them with the ACNC.