I am pleased to be writing to you today, in my first column as Commissioner of the ACNC.
As incoming Commissioner, I am excited by the opportunities and challenges ahead as the ACNC commences a new phase, building on the strong foundations set over the last five years and continuing to provide information to help the public understand the work of the sector.
I am looking forward to immersing myself in the ACNC over the coming months, learning more about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing charity performance in Australia. I am also looking forward to the prospect of sharing and testing ideas, and further exploring how the ACNC can support increased public trust and confidence in the charity sector, and assist donors to fulfil their own charitable intentions
As discussed in my recent column in The Australian, it is my belief that the ACNC should help the donor market drive the charity dollar to its most efficient and best uses. The Commission already gathers essential information about the performance of charities, and I am keen to explore options that will bring critical and relevant charity information to the forefront.
As 2017 draws to a close, I would like to wish you all a joyous Christmas and New Year, and look forward to new adventures awaiting in 2018.
Review of ACNC legislation
The Government has today released the terms of reference for a review of the ACNC legislation and announced appointments to the review panel.
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Consequential and Transitional) Act 2012 both commenced operation in December 2012.
The legislation requires a review to be undertaken after five years of operation. This review presents an opportunity to evaluate the performance of the legislative framework, the regulation of the sector and to identify any improvements that can be made.
Mr Patrick McClure AO has been appointed to chair the review panel, and will be joined by Ms Su McCluskey, Dr Matthew Turnour and Mr Greg Hammond OAM.
Submissions are due by 28 February 2018, with a final report to be presented to Government by 31 May 2018.
Further information can be found on the Treasury consultation website.
2017 Annual Information Statement due soon
Many charities will have their 2017 Annual Information Statements due at the end of January, and we encourage all charities to submit early and avoid added pressure in the new year.
If your charity is looking to complete its 2017 Annual Information Statement over the holiday break, there are a range of resources available to assist – including the 2017 AIS Guide and Checklist.
The 2017 AIS Guide now also contains a series of helpful how-to videos, designed to assist you in answering key questions throughout the Annual Information Statement.
Access the free resources now at acnc.gov.au/2017AIS.
2017 Webinar series now complete
Last week, the ACNC conducted a webinar on the topic of administration costs and charity spending, co-presented by my colleague Assistant Commissioner Murray Baird. The presentation talked about what administration costs are, and offered advice for charities about presenting the realities of their expenses to donors and the public.
Our webinar program for 2017 is now complete, and the videos and presentations from each webinar are available on the ACNC website at acnc.gov.au/webinars.
A full schedule of webinars for 2018 will be made available early in the new year.
In the meantime, if you have any feedback, questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Latest podcast episode now available
Looking for some listening material over the holidays? There are now 13 episodes of ACNC Charity Chat available to download from iTunes, or access them now on our website at acnc.gov.au/podcast.
In the final episode for 2017, host Matt Crichton speaks with the Director of Compliance, Prue Monument, about terrorism financing and money laundering risks in Australia. The discussion centres on the national risk assessment conducted by the ACNC and AUSTRAC, which explains Australia’s current risk level for money laundering and terrorism financing, the nature of the risks faced by charities and what charities can do to mitigate those risks.
You can read the full report, Australia’s non-profit organisation sector: money laundering and terrorism financing risk assessment, on the ACNC website at acnc.gov.au/nfprisk.
ACNC Charity Chat will return early in 2018.
ACNC availability over the holidays
The ACNC will close between the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Our Advice Services and Registration teams will be closed from 12 noon on Friday 22 December and will reopen 9am on Tuesday 2 January 2018.
The Hon Dr Gary Johns