Australia Day, Commissioner Interpretation Statement – Indigenous Charities, 12 months in Compliance Analysis

Australia Day, 26 January, evokes stories and images of national identity and a recognition of the contribution of many, including the First Australians, to the fabric of our society and the benefit of our community.

Citizenship ceremonies in small and large, urban and remote municipalities across Australia enable formal recognition of ‘new Australians’. Since the first Australian citizenship ceremony in 1949, more than four million people have chosen to become Australian citizens. The diversity, multiculturalism, joy and pride of those people taking part in these ceremonies is inspiring.

The awarding of the Australia Day Honours allows for the formal recognition of people who have made a considerable and significant difference to their community and the lives of others. We congratulate everyone who has received an Australia Day Honour in 2014 and particularly the volunteers, charity workers and community and sector leaders whose contributions make our lives that much richer and better.

Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement – Indigenous Charities

Commissioner Interpretation Statements (CIS) help to guide charities, the public and our staff on how we understand the law that applies to charities, including explaining the common law and legislation as well as any relevant legal issues.

The ACNC has recently released the CIS on Indigenous charities. The purpose of this CIS is to provide guidance to ACNC staff on the how charity law applies to Indigenous charities, including the recognition of Indigenous disadvantage, applying the public benefit test and the effect of the new Charities Act 2013 (Cth) (Charities Act).

In relation to the CIS, Matthew Storey, CEO of Native Title Service Victoria said “releasing this Statement is a good initiative of the ACNC. It will help resolve uncertainty about registering Indigenous charities. I think it will assist in advancing economic development for Indigenous people too.”

The ACNC had the privilege of working with a number of Indigenous organisations to ensure that the CIS – Indigenous Charities, its framing, wording and determinations are relevant and helpful. Thank you to all those organisations for their time, advice and expertise.

The CIS – Indigenous Charities and our reasoning behind it is available on acnc.gov.au.

ACNC - the last 12 months: an overview from compliance

Since the ACNC was established, we have been actively working towards protecting public trust in charities. In line with our regulatory approach, we respond to concerns raised about charities and undertake intelligence gathering and investigations, when appropriate. This is a crucial part of our role as a regulator.

We have released a snapshot of our compliance work to date. It includes statistics on regulatory activity, compliance trends and case studies of our compliance investigations.

Submit your 2013 Annual Information Statement

Once again a reminder for charities using the standard 1 July to 30 June financial reporting year that your 2013 Annual Information Statement is due by 31 March 2014. We also remind those charities operating on a calendar year that their deadline is 30 June 2014.

So far, almost 15,000 charities have completed or commenced their 2013 Annual Information Statements.

Good wishes
Susan Pascoe AM
Commissioner
Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

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

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