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Australian charities will soon have a new set of standards to guide their overseas operations and work.

The External Conduct Standards, expected to be introduced in late July, are a set of four standards that will govern a registered charity’s operations outside of Australia.

The standards cover:

  • How charities control their funds, goods and other resources
  • The need for an annual review of overseas activities and record keeping
  • Anti-fraud and anti-corruption guidelines
  • Measures aimed at protecting vulnerable individuals

All registered charities that operate outside Australia will need to comply with these new standards, even if the charity’s work or operations outside Australia are relatively minor. The standards will operate in addition to the existing ACNC Governance Standards. Registered charities that are classed by the ACNC as Basic Religious Charities will also be subject to the External Conduct Standards if they operate outside Australia.

We have published guidance and information on the External Conduct Standards in the lead-up to their introduction. To find out more, visit

Further information about the External Conduct Standards will be shared over the coming weeks.

2018 Annual Information Statement now overdue for some charities

The 2018 Annual Information Statement due date has now passed for most charities. If your charity operates on a calendar year (1 January to 31 December) and you have not yet submitted your 2018 Annual Information Statement, I would encourage you to do so as soon as possible.

The ACNC can impose financial penalties on charities for failing to submit on time, and charities that do not report two Annual Information Statements risk having their registration revoked.

To submit the Annual Information Statement log into the new Charity Portal at If you need a hand, there is a video and step-by-step instructions available on our website at

More information about the 2018 Annual Information Statement, including a helpful checklist and guide, is available on the ACNC website at

Auditing standards for small charities

The Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AUASB) has released a short survey seeking feedback on the auditing standards for small entities. The survey, Audits of Less Complex Entities, is based on a discussion paper issued by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB).

The short survey has been developed to obtain Australian stakeholders feedback on the challenges in applying the auditing standards to audits of smaller entities, as well as possible solutions to address those challenges.

You can complete the AUASB’s survey here.

Free software available to small charities

A Melbourne-based organisation,, has made its new software available free of charge for small charities.

The software is designed to support charities in their safeguarding obligations, including monitoring child-safe accreditations for staff and volunteers and maintaining valuable records of accreditation checks.

The software is free for charities that have an annual turnover of less than $250,000 and less than 20 staff. You can find out more on the website.

Upcoming education opportunities

Our next free webinar is less than two weeks away!

The webinar will be held on 24 July and will focus on starting a charity. It will include information about the definition of a charity, how to decide whether starting a charity is the best option for you, and the requirements to register a charity.

If starting a charity is something you are considering, I strongly recommend you register and secure your spot today via the ACNC website.

The ATO recently recorded a webinar directed at animal welfare charities. The webinar is available on the ATO website, and covers useful information about DGR endorsement, record keeping and expenditure.

Best wishes,

The Hon Dr Gary Johns