I’m writing to you in the midst of a busy week here in Sydney, which will feature three Ask ACNC sessions, two 2017 Annual Information Statement consultation with charities and peak bodies, the Commonwealth Bank - Our Community NFP Treasurer’s Awards ceremony, and the ACNC Advisory Board meeting.
Ask ACNC Sydney
On Monday we were joined by more than 200 representatives from registered charities at Ask ACNC Sydney, today we hosted 65 in Wollongong and we’re expecting a further 150 tomorrow in Parramatta.
I would like to thank all of the charities that have attended an Ask ACNC session, and also the representatives from the Australian Taxation Office and state government agencies who have presented.
There are only a few more sessions scheduled, which you can register for at acnc.gov.au/askacnc. To ensure no one misses out, we will also be offering Ask ACNC as a free webinar. Much like attending Ask ACNC in person, charities participating in the webinar will hear directly from an ACNC Commissioner and will have the opportunity to ask questions. The webinar is scheduled for 12 October 2016 and you can register for the webinar at the link above.
ACNC Advisory Board meeting
This week the ACNC’s Advisory Board will meet for the second time since the membership of the board changed in May 2016.
You can find a summary of the Advisory Board meeting from July 2016, and previous meetings, at acnc.gov.au/advisoryboard. We will publish a summary of the September 2016 meeting in the coming weeks.
In addition to our standard agenda for the Advisory Board meeting, board members will also join charities for a consultation session on the 2017 Annual Information Statement. Consultation with charities and sector stakeholders is an important part of ensuring that while ACNC reporting requirements satisfy the ACNC Act, they are also not putting undue strain on charities.
All charities and stakeholders are encouraged to have their say by completing our online survey or by making a written submission.
The consultation is open until 4 October 2016; more information is available at acnc.gov.au/2017AISconsultation.
Peak bodies’ joint statement on fundraising reform
On Monday morning I read with interest a joint statement from eight not-for-profit sector stakeholders regarding fundraising reform across Australia.
The statement was co-signed by the CEOs of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Justice Connect, the Governance Institute of Australia, the Australian Council of Social Services, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, the Community Council for Australia, CPA Australia, and Philanthropy Australia.
The statement questions the efficiency and effectiveness of having seven different fundraising regimes in Australia and claims that $15 million every year is wasted by charities trying to navigate an outdated and fragmented regulatory system.
Duplicative reporting requirements across jurisdictions have certainly been a cause for concern for the sector. This was highlighted in our most recent report on red tape, Cutting Red Tape, which showed that centralised regulation would reduce the burden on charities.
In addition to quantifying the burden, the group of eight stakeholders have proposed an approach that would see the state and territory fundraising laws repealed. Instead fundraising would be regulated under Australian Consumer Law.
We have already seen legislative changes in both South Australia and Tasmania that will reduce red tape for charities in those states. The South Australian legislation has a particular benefit for registered charities wishing to fundraise.
The ACNC is supportive of any changes that can balance the need to maintain and enhance public trust and confidence in the sector while reducing red tape for charities.
I encourage all charities and not-for-profit sector stakeholders to read the statement, which is available at aicd.companydirectors.com.au/fundraisingreform.
Commonwealth Bank - Our Community Not-For-Profit Treasurers’ Awards
Tonight my colleagues Murray Baird and David Locke will join me at the Commonwealth Bank - Our Community Not-For-Profit Treasurers’ Award ceremony in Sydney.
The award, which is an initiative of the Commonwealth Bank and Our Community, recognises the capability, sacrifice and contribution of not-for-profit treasurers, many of whom are volunteers.
I am honoured to be presenting the 2016 award. While I can’t divulge the name of the winner just yet, I can assure you they are very deserving.
Susan Pascoe AM
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