Susan Pascoe, Our Commissioner

This will be my final Commissioner’s Column for 2016 as the ACNC will close between the Christmas and New Year holidays.

This will mean that our Advice Services and Registration teams will be unavailable during that period. We will reopen on Tuesday 3 January 2017 at 9am (AEDT).

With the year drawing to a close, it would be remiss of me not to reflect on some of the significant achievements of 2016.

For example, in 2016:

  • The South Australian and Tasmanian Parliaments passed legislation to reduce red tape for charities
  • The ACNC received a national award for digital transformation
  • We delivered 28 face-to-face Ask ACNC sessions across the country
  • In partnership with the Centre for Social Impact at the University of New South Wales, we published the third Australian Charities Report, and
  • We launched the Tick of Charity Registration

You can read more about the last two dot points below.

It would be fair to say that the highlight of 2016 for the ACNC came on 4 March, when the Minister for Social Services, the Hon Christian Porter MP, and the then Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, announced the decision of the Turnbull Government to retain the ACNC. This has provided certainty and stability, which we hope will give momentum to measures to streamline administrative requirements for charities across the states and territories.

Australian Charities Report 2015

On Wednesday last week ACNC Advisory Board Chair Tony Stuart and I launched the Australian Charities Report 2015 at Mission Australia’s Surry Hills facility.

We were joined by dozens of charity sector representatives who heard directly from our research partner the Centre for Social Impact, and from Mission Australia’s CEO, Catherine Yeomans.

The Australian Charities Report 2015 is the third of its kind, however it is the first to compare findings with previous years.

The 2015 report found that:

  • Total income had grown 2% to over $134 billion
  • Donations and bequests grew 2.4% to $11.2 billion
  • There are nearly 3 million volunteers
  • Nearly half of all charities are run solely by volunteers
  • 1.2 million Australians are employed by a registered charity (around 10% of the total workforce)
  • The majority (67%) of charities are small, with annual revenue of $250,000 or less.

The full report, shorter summary reports, and the interactive data cube are available at australiancharities.acnc.gov.au.

I recommend you take a look at the 2015 report and its fascinating findings!

Tick of Charity Registration

On Wednesday we also formally launched the Tick of Charity Registration (or Registered Charity Tick) at Mission Australia’s Surry Hills facility in Sydney.

I was very proud to present Mission Australia’s CEO, Catherine Yeomans, with a framed Registered Charity Tick to commemorate the occasion (pictured below).

Catherine described displaying the Registered Charity Tick as a way of showing Mission Australia’s commitment to transparency.

“Mission Australia is proud to be a registered charity,” Catherine said.

“We are proud of the work that we do at Mission Australia, and we couldn’t achieve such positive outcomes for vulnerable Australians without the community’s support.”

Displaying the Registered Charity Tick is optional, however nearly 2,000 registered charities have already logged into the Charity Portal to download their copy.

The Registered Charity Tick is a way for donors to quickly and easily identify a registered charity, particularly ahead of the annual Christmas giving period.

To support registered charities that choose to display the Registered Charity Tick, we have undertaken a public communications campaign to raise awareness of the new logo.

We have already seen media interest in the Registered Charity Tick, with stories running in the Fairfax press and on Channel 7 News last week.

For more information about the Registered Charity Tick, visit acnc.gov.au/registeredcharitytick.

December revocations

In December 2016 the ACNC revoked the charity status of two organisations following compliance investigations into their activities and operations.

The two organisations are:

Both organisations will lose access to Commonwealth charity tax concessions and have 60 days (from the date of revocation) to object to the ACNC’s revocation decisions, in which case they will be independently reviewed internally.

For more, read our media release at acnc.gov.au/mediareleases.

Have your say: Help us improve the 2017 Annual Information Statement

At the ACNC we are continually working with charities and our professional and sector user groups to improve our services, forms and guidance materials.

In 2017 we are introducing a new question to the Annual Information Statement about the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees who work for charities.

We are asking registered charities to complete a short survey to help us make the new question as easy to understand as possible.

The survey is anonymous and we estimate that it will take around five minutes to complete. The survey will close on 22 January 2017.

You can complete the survey here.

Thank you in advance.

Merry Christmas

Before I sign off for the last time in 2016 I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year.

Many of us are lucky enough to be able to spend a significant amount of time with family and friends over the Christmas and New Year period. However, my thoughts at this time of the year are always with those less fortunate, and the wonderful employees and volunteers of charities that are out there offering them practical support.

This Christmas I encourage you to be generous, kind, safe, and of course, merry.

Good wishes
Susan Pascoe AM

Contact us

Our phone number is 13 ACNC (13 22 62) or you can email us at advice@acnc.gov.au.
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