On Saturday millions of Australians exercised their democratic right and cast their vote for the 2016 Federal Election. Millions of us also exercised our right to purchase the traditional sausage sizzle sandwich, helping raise an estimated $6-8 million for charities and P&C groups across the country (as reported by ABC News).

As I pen this edition of the Commissioner’s Column, the next government has not yet been sworn in, leaving the Commonwealth Government and its agencies (including the ACNC) in caretaker mode.,

My colleagues and I at the ACNC are ready to hit the ground running once the next Government is formed, with a particular focus on efforts to reduce red tape for charities – an area with strong multi-party support.

More compliance action

In mid-June 2016 we announced that we had revoked the charity status of four organisations following compliance investigations into their activities and operations. You can find the 21 June 2016 media release at acnc.gov.au/mediareleases.

On 30 June we announced that another three organisations have lost charity status, they are:

All seven organisations will lose their entitlement to access Commonwealth charity tax concessions.

While the vast majority of registered charities are run by good competent people who are trying to contribute to our communities, there are some that mismanage charities, or worse still, use them as a vehicle for personal gain.

We will continue to take firm action against those charities that are breaching the ACNC Act.

You can find a record of all ACNC compliance activity at acnc.gov.au/compliancedecisions.

Double Defaulters

In the coming weeks the ACNC will issue approximately 1,400 registered charities with a notice of intention to revoke charity status.

Despite many reminders, these charities have failed to submit two Annual Information Statements, making them what we refer to as “double defaulters”.

Regular readers of this column will recall that the original list of potential double defaulters stood at around 1,700 charities – meaning that since we published and promoted the list, around 300 charities have submitted their outstanding reports. This is excellent news, and I encourage any other charities listed to do the same.

Submitting an Annual Information Statement to the ACNC each year is a legislative requirement of maintaining charity status, and if charities fail to submit twice, we move to revoke their charity status.

We have published the list of potential double defaulters at acnc.gov.au/doubledefaulters. Please take a moment to review the list, and if you are involved with one of the charities or know someone that is, please contact the ACNC immediately.

Once we issue the notice of intention to revoke, these charities will have 28 days to submit their outstanding Annual Information Statements. Those that fail to do so will have their status revoked and will therefore lose access to Commonwealth charity tax concessions.

Annual Information Statements

I am also calling on 14,000 registered charities to submit their overdue 2015 Annual Information Statements. While this group are not at immediate risk of revocation, they have now missed the 30 June 2016 due date despite multiple reminders.

In addition to being a requirement of maintaining charity status, it’s important that charities submit their Annual Information Statements on time.

The Charity Register has been searched over 1.5 million times, showing that the public are increasingly using the information to help them make informed giving decisions.

The Charity Register publishes information from the Annual Information Statement – meaning if charities are not providing their reports on time, members of the public and donors will not have access to accurate and up-to-date information.

If your charity needs a hand submitting its Annual Information Statement, visit acnc.gov.au/2015ais, call 13 ACNC (13 22 62) or email advice@acnc.gov.au.

NAIDOC Week 2016

Each year the first week of July is NAIDOC week. NAIDOC Week is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievement. Its origins can be traced all the way back to the 1920s.

The NAIDOC Week 2016 theme is Songlines: The living narrative of our nation. I encourage you to take a moment to read more about the meaning of the Songlines theme at naidoc.org.au.

You can also download a free copy of the winner of the NAIDOC Week 2016 Poster Competition, a beautiful artwork designed by Lani Balzan.

This year the ACNC is celebrating NAIDOC week at a number of internal and external events.

We will be holding an event for our staff on Friday featuring a presentation from an Indigenous artist, and we will also have a stall at the Whole of Government event in Fitzroy (Melbourne) on Wednesday 6 July.

Keep an eye on our social media accounts for more information.

The ACNC’s NAIDOC Week celebrations are coordinated by our two Aboriginal Liaison Officers, who are available on request to speak to Indigenous Australians about their charity’s obligations.

To speak to an ACNC Aboriginal Liaison Officer just call 13 ACNC (13 22 62) on weekdays between 9am and 6pm.

You can also find ACNC information specific to registered charities controlled by Indigenous Australians at acnc.gov.au/indigenous.

Good wishes,

Susan Pascoe AMCommissioner

Contact us

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