Susan Pascoe is away, so in her absence I am acting Commissioner.

I had the pleasure of presenting the 2015 Australian Charities Report in Canberra yesterday. I was joined by the Minister for Small Business, the Hon Michael McCormack MP who spoke about the important contribution that charities make to Australian society and re-affirmed the Turnbull Government’s support for the ACNC. At the launch, Minister McCormack said:

“The Government has committed to working with the ACNC to continue to remove red tape and increase accountability and transparency.

This will include working with the ACNC, States and Territories and the charity sector to identify areas where we can remove duplication.

I am pleased to report there is progress in this area.

South Australia has passed legislation that harmonises requirements with the ACNC. Tasmania has also passed legislation for its incorporated associations that harmonises with the ACNC, and the ACT has committed to do so also.

In the future, we hope that charities operating across state borders will only be required to report to the ACNC, as opposed to both the ACNC and state government bodies as is required currently.

This will remove significant duplication to free up charities to get on with their very important main business.”

The Shadow Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Dr Andrew Leigh also spoke at the event and re-affirmed the Labor Party’s support for the ACNC and their desire for more state and territory governments to work with the ACNC.

The ACNC is 100% committed to reducing red tape for the charity sector, and bipartisan support of our work goes a long way in helping us reach agreements with the state and territory governments’ to harmonise reporting.

You can watch Mr McCormack’s speech here, and read the speech here.

Dr Andrew Leigh MP also made some remarks about the ACNC’s red tape reduction efforts in the House of Representatives yesterday. These can be found in the Hansard from Tuesday 7 February.

Reminder: 2016 Annual Information Statements due now for many charities

The majority of registered charities were required to submit their 2016 Annual Information Statement before 31 January 2017. Eighty percent of charities have met their obligations- my thanks to those charities, many of which are run solely by volunteers. However, I am disappointed that over 6,000 charities missed the deadline and have not yet reported.

If your charity uses the standard financial year (1 July to 30 June) and has not submitted its 2016 Annual Information Statement, it is now overdue –charities must submit to avoid facing penalties. Submitting your Annual Information Statement is a legal requirement of maintaining your charity status, and the public rely on your Charity Register listing for accurate and up-to-date information about your charity and its work.

We’ve published a range of free resources to assist charities in submitting their Annual Information Statements. These can be accessed at acnc.gov.au/2016AIS.

You can also contact our friendly Advice Services team by calling 13 ACNC (13 22 62) or by email at advice@acnc.gov.au.

ACNC Advisory Board

Our Advisory Board met in Hobart last week in conjunction with our Charities Report presentation. The Board provides advice to the Commissioner on carrying out the role of the ACNC.

It was also good to meet with over 100 Tasmanian charities at the Charities Report event. I am always impressed and inspired by the diversity, energy and innovation of charities large and small. It is good to hear their concerns and assist them to understand our regulatory approach and the resources available to them.

Audit and Review Report Templates

We have recently published some new templates, designed to be used by auditors for financial reporting. Developed with the assistance of the Australian Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AASB), the templates are intended to suit general purpose and special purpose reports for a range of charitable organisations.

The free resources are available at acnc.gov.au. Our other free templates to help charities manage finances, governance and more, are also available on our website at acnc.gov.au/template

Upcoming Webinar – ACNC Compliance

Our free webinars continue, with this month’s session focusing on the work of ACNC’s Compliance directorate. This is a great chance to learn about the common types of concerns we receive, how we work with charities to resolve concerns, and the enforcement powers we have and how we use these.

The webinar starts at noon on Tuesday 21 February. Register now at acnc.gov.au/webinars.

Consider your compensation insurance

Are your organisation’s workers’ compensation insurance arrangements current? There are serious consequences for charities and not-for-profits if the required insurance is not in place.

Any individual, whether paid or as a volunteer, who fulfils a governing role for an organisation can be held personally liable for the costs of an uninsured workers’ compensation claim. Additionally, workers’ compensation regulators may prosecute organisations and individuals for compliance breaches.

Speak to your insurer or insurance broker to ensure your organisation is meeting its compensation obligations, or contact your local workers’ compensation authority:

ACT: http://www.worksafe.act.gov.au/workers_compensation
NSW: http://www.workersinsurance.icare.nsw.gov.au/
NT: http://www.worksafe.nt.gov.au/WorkersCompensation/
QLD: https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/insurance
SA: https://www.rtwsa.com/insurance
TAS: http://www.workcover.tas.gov.au/insurance
VIC: http://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/insurance-and-premiums
WA: http://www.workcover.wa.gov.au/employers

Warm regards,

Murray Baird
Acting Commissioner