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I am really excited about the opportunity to lead the team at the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission as acting Commissioner, and to present my first Commissioner’s Column in The Charitable Purpose. I will serve as acting Commissioner until the end of October, or until the position is filled on a permanent basis.

I have joined at an exciting time for the ACNC. The Annual Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand (CLAANZ) Conference, and accompanying ACNC Regulators Day, were held last week. These are significant annual events that support the ACNC’s engagement with the charity sector and with other regulators. The new minister responsible for the ACNC, Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, the Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP spoke about his priorities and outlined how he will engage with the key stakeholders to build a stronger charitable sector to support vulnerable Australians.

At Regulator’s Day, we launched a major initiative to support charities in their efforts to make sure their charities are well-run — our new free online training program. Good governance is vital for transparency and ongoing public support for the sector. Our latest official data shows Australians donated $12.7 billion to charities in the 2020 reporting period, up from $11.8 billion in the previous period. Transparency and accountability underpin that strong level of trust and confidence.

The new Governing Charities program will benefit those seeking to improve their leadership and governance of an Australian charity. It is a highly valuable resource for new board members, and others who lead charities, covering the foundations of how to run a charity effectively and successfully. Those with more experience will benefit from consolidating their knowledge and skills.

As we all know, it is important that charity leaders are aware of their obligations and take their responsibilities seriously. Being ultimately responsible for managing an organisation’s finances, operations, staff and volunteers, it is critical they have the right skills and knowledge to execute their roles.

We hope that our free, online program will be immensely useful, supporting charities to stay true to their purposes and mission, even as they grow and evolve. It will fill an important training gap and prove to be a valuable resource, and I encourage you to explore whether any or all of the short courses on offer would be of value to you or others in your organisation. Four more courses will be released before the end of the year.

I look forward to working with you over the coming months.

Warm Regards,
Deborah Jenkins
Acting Commissioner ACNC