Advisory Board meeting

The Advisory Board’s term ends in May 2016, meaning the Brisbane meeting may be the last for the inaugural Advisory Board. While the Government is yet to announce its intentions for the Advisory Board going forward, I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the contribution of the current board members.

The Advisory Board members’ commitment, expert advice and unwavering support undoubtedly contributed to the retention of the ACNC, which was announced by the Minister for Social Services and Assistant Treasurer last month.

Prior to the Advisory Board meeting on 29 April, there was a forum with the sector on 28 April. I always appreciate the opportunity to meet face-to-face with those working to improve our communities. The attendees represented some of Queensland’s largest charities, the Queensland Government, charity law specialists and peak bodies.The discussion was lively, with a focus on innovations such as social impact investing and on red tape reduction initiatives for charities based in Queensland. We will continue to work with the Queensland Government, other state and territory governments, and Commonwealth Government agencies to reduce red tape for charities.

Tasmanian Government red tape reduction announcement

Last week I was pleased to note the Tasmanian Government’s announcement introducing amendments to their incorporated associations legislation.

The Hon Adam Brooks MP stated that the introduction of the Associations Incorporation Amendment Bill 2016 will exempt incorporated associations registered with the ACNC from having to provide duplicate financial reports to Tasmania’s Commissioner for Corporate Affairs.

This is a significant step forward in terms of aligning reporting requirements for registered charities.

The Bill also more closely aligns Tasmanian legislation with ACNC requirements by removing the need for incorporated associations with annual revenue of less than $250,000 to have their financial reports audited.

The proposed amendments will no doubt benefit Tasmania’s 1,200 registered charities and ultimately the community.

I look forward to working with the Tasmanian Government as they implement these changes and with other state and territory governments on red tape reduction initiatives.

NAB Charitable Giving Index

Last week NAB released their charitable giving index report, covering February 2015 to February 2016. The report provides fascinating insights into Australia’s charitable giving and is well worth a read.

The report found that charitable giving in Australia has increased, up 6.5% over the past 12 months. This marks a substantial increase compared to the 2.4% growth seen in the previous 12 months. Similarly, the average size of annual donations per person grew by $12 to $348.

NAB highlighted the strong Australian economy, employment growth, household consumption and lower levels of consumer anxiety as the catalysts.

I was also pleased to see parts of my home state of Victoria listed as the most charitable. Middle Park recorded the highest average donation per person ($327), while the residents of Castlemaine donated the highest percentage of their annual incomes (0.36%).

You can find the NAB Charitable Giving Index: Indepth report at nab.com.au.

Public consultation on draft Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement

We are seeking comment on our draft Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement regarding Public Benevolent Institutions (PBI).

The purpose of Commissioner’s Interpretation Statements is to provide guidance to ACNC staff, charities and the public on how we understand the law that applies to charities. These statements reflect our current understanding of the law and are binding on ACNC staff.

The Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement on PBI covers issues such as:

  • the degree of “need” beneficiaries must be in,
  • whether organisations can collaborate to provide relief,
  • whether PBIs can operate overseas, and
  • the distinguishing features of an institution.

The draft Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement on PBI is quite technical, so I appreciate that this might not be of interest to everyone. However, if you do have an interest in this subject, please review our draft statement and provide your written comments to CIS@acnc.gov.au by close of business 1 June 2016.

You can find the draft Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement: Public Benevolent Institution at acnc.gov.au/cis.

Following the public consultation period, the final Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement on PBI will join our statements on six other topics:

  • Meaning of Government Entity
  • Commercially Sensitive Information
  • Health Promotion Charities
  • Provision of housing by charities
  • The Hunger Project case
  • Indigenous charities

You can find these Commissioner’s Interpretation Statements at acnc.gov.au/cis.

2015 Annual Information Statement

For many charities the due date for the 2015 Annual Information Statement is fast approaching. Charities that operate on a calendar reporting period, that is 1 January to 31 December, are required to submit their 2015 Annual Information Statement by 30 June 2016.

Over 15,000 registered charities are required to lodge their Annual Information Statement by 30 June, so if you leave it until the last minute, you may experience delays when trying to submit.

Submit your Annual Information Statement as soon as possible at acnc.gov.au/2015ais.

Good wishes

Susan Pascoe AM

Commissioner

Contact us

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