While Susan enjoys a well-deserved holiday with her family, I am acting as Commissioner of the ACNC. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to update you on the ACNC’s work in this fortnight’s Commissioner’s Column.

Two states pass legislation to reduce red tape for charities

I am very pleased to be able to announce to you the passage of legislation in both South Australia and Tasmania that will significantly reduce red tape for registered charities.

South Australia

On 24 May 2016, the South Australian Parliament passed the Statutes Amendment (Commonwealth registered Entities) Bill 2016.

The Bill reduces red tape for incorporated associations in South Australia that are ACNC registered charities by no longer requiring them to submit information to their state regulator. They will simply file their Annual Information Statement to the ACNC.

All charities registered with the ACNC will also no longer need to apply for a fundraising licence in South Australia, nor will they have to file an annual return to the state government. This will be a significant reduction in time and resources, not only for charities based in South Australia but any who fundraise there, or who do so nationally.The Bill’s implementation date is 1 January 2017.

Tasmania

Just last week on Thursday 2 June 2016, the Tasmanian Parliament passed the Associations Incorporation Amendment Bill 2016. The passage of this Bill will result in significant red tape reduction for ACNC registered charities in the state.

The change will mean that Tasmanian incorporated associations registered with the ACNC will no longer be required to provide duplicative reporting to their state regulator.

The amendment also harmonises the threshold for a “small” charity in Tasmania, meaning that approximately 3,000 registered charities with annual revenue of less than $250,000 will no longer be required to have their accounts audited.

The legislation is scheduled to come into effect on 1 October 2016.

In the meantime, the ACNC will work with the relevant South Australian and Tasmanian government agencies to develop information sharing systems and plain language guidance for charities.

These landmark announcements are an important step in the right direction, my congratulations to all involved. After the Commonwealth Government’s caretaker period the ACNC will continue to work with the other States and Territories to achieve further advances.

2,000 charities at risk of losing registration

We have today published a list of 2,000 registered charities that are at risk of revocation. This group of charities are about to become what are referred to as ‘Double Defaulters’ – meaning they have not submitted two Annual Information Statements. Submitting an Annual Information Statement each year is a core obligation for charities that wish to maintain their charity status.

If these charities do not submit their outstanding Annual Information Statements by 30 June, the ACNC will issue them with a notice of intention to revoke charity status. This is not a step that we take lightly, all these organisations have been contacted a number of times over the last two years.

We believe a number will have wound up and will no longer be operating; however some are likely still operational. Our aim in publishing this list is to provide a further final opportunity for these charities to sort out their reporting.

I encourage you to check the list and if you are associated with one of the charities, or know someone that is, please contact the ACNC immediately to find out what is required to maintain charity status. Our Advice Services team are happy to assist anyone who needs help with this.

This is also a timely reminder for all charities; please submit your Annual Information Statements by the due date to ensure you charity does not unnecessarily risk its charity status.

You can find the list at acnc.gov.au/doubledefaulters.

Giving Australia Study

Soon fieldwork for the 2016 Giving Australia study will commence. The Giving Australia research project is the largest to ever analyse philanthropic behaviour in this country.

The study is a fantastic initiative of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership, and the research will be conducted by the Queensland University of Technology in partnership with Swinburne University and the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs.

Around 4,000 registered charities will be contacted by the project team to ask that they complete the survey. If you have the time, please complete the survey, as it will contribute to the development of a really important piece of research into the sector.

For more information, visit qut.edu.au.

Charity news

I would like to congratulate two registered charities on major milestones.

Last week the Paul Ramsay Foundation announced the recipients of their first major grant. The grant is reportedly valued at $10 million over 5 years and will support education in disadvantaged areas of Tasmania.

The Foundation, named after the late Mr Paul Ramsay AO, has a focus on health, education and disadvantage.

Also, congratulations to Australia’s RSLs on their 100 year anniversary. The RSL was established by troops returning from WWI to support returned servicemen and woman, their families, and the fallen.

There are hundreds of RSLs providing vital services and support across the country, and you can find them on the ACNC’s Charity Register at acnc.gov.au/findacharity.

Ramadan

Yesterday marked the commencement of the holy month of Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. For Muslims Ramadan is a time for prayer, fasting, and charitable-giving.

The Muslim community make significant contributions to the underprivileged during Ramadan and generosity is often shown through donations to food banks, running charity events or collections, and volunteering.

I encourage those looking to give to a charity during Ramadan to check the Charity Register.

To search the Charity Register, simply visit acnc.gov.au/findacharity and search by name, ABN, state or territory, or the beneficiaries.

With very best wishes

David Locke
Acting Commissioner

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