Susan Pascoe, Our Commissioner

ACNC here to stay

On Friday 3 March, 2016, the Minister for Social Services, Hon Christian Porter MP and the Assistant Treasurer Hon Kelly O'Dwyer MP, announced the Government’s decision to retain the ACNC. This is wonderful news, coming after a long period of uncertainty.

At the ACNC, we welcome the announcement and the certainty that it brings for the charity sector. The government has listened and responded to the sector, which has shown consistent support for a dedicated regulator for the NFP sector.

The decision provides me with the opportunity to reflect on the great work our team has been doing since we were established a little over three years ago.

The efforts of our passionate and dedicated staff, including our tireless Assistant Commissioners, Murray Baird and David Locke, have helped to grow the ACNC into the supportive, reliable and trusted regulator it is today.

I would also like to express my gratitude to those who have supported the work of the ACNC. Many individuals and groups have expressed ongoing support for a charity regulator which promotes trust and confidence in the sector, supports its sustainability, and plays a catalytic role in red tape reduction. The voices of support over the years have been important in securing the future of the ACNC.

I am proud of the work we have achieved since we were established on 3 December 2012 and I look forward to continuing efforts ensure Australian charities inspire confidence and respect. The announcement that the ACNC would be retained provides great impetus to further reduce red tape, increase accountability and provide targeted support and guidance for charities.

You can read the full joint statement on the decision to retain the ACNC from Ministers Porter and O'Dwyer at http://christianporter.dss.gov.au.

New resource for small charities

We were pleased to release our template model rules for unincorporated associations last week. With this template, unincorporated associations now have a basis from which they can create a governing document for their organisation.

A governing document is essential for a charity. It outlines the charity’s objects, purposes, and the way in which it will be governed. It is also a requirement for registration with the ACNC.

Thousands of registered charities are unincorporated associations. These organisations are usually very small and run entirely by volunteers. For many of these organisations, developing a governing document can be a daunting task.

Often, those involved in starting such an organisation may not have the time or knowledge to be able to confidently draft a set of rules. Our template is designed to make it as easy as possible for these unincorporated associations to develop their own governing document and register with the ACNC.

We collaborated with Not-for-profit Law at Justice Connect to develop this template. Their advice and assistance in making this resource easy to follow, whilst still meeting all the requirements charities need, was invaluable.

I would also like to thank the ATO, state and territory government agencies, and the professional advisors who provided valuable input.

You can view the guidance and download the template model rules at acnc.gov.au/unincorporatedassociations.

Transitional reporting arrangements

The Government's recent announcement regarding the retention of the ACNC is an important step in streamlining charity reporting obligations across all levels of government. In the meantime, we have been working with the Government to amend ACNC regulations to extend transitional reporting provisions allowing the ACNC to accept certain reports lodged with other government agencies.

In 2014 and 2015, the ACNC applied these provisions to accept the following reports as meeting ACNC requirements:

  • Financial reports lodged by incorporated associations, co-operatives and fundraisers with state and territory regulators
  • Financial Questionnaires lodged by non-government schools with the Department of Education and Training
  • Annual returns and financial reports lodged by Indigenous Corporations with the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations.

Information about the current transitional reporting provisions is on our website at acnc.gov.au/transitionalreporting.

To give the sector immediate certainty, the ACNC has committed to again accept these reports for the 2016 reporting year.

Reducing red tape is a focus of the ACNC and we are working closely with governments at all levels to align regulatory obligations and streamline reporting.

New website for not-for-profits

Justice Connect Not-for-profit Law have recently launched an online Information Hub for Australian not-for-profits. The Hub contains a collection of free resources, which answer charities' legal questions and help them with their daily management.

The award winning resource has been operating in Victoria and NSW for eighteen months, already helping over 100 000 people with their legal questions. It has now been expanded to include information for charities in all Australian states and territories.

Contact us

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

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