This week saw the introduction of a new set of standards that registered charities operating overseas need to meet. All charities that operate overseas, including those classified as Basic Religious Charities, must comply with the new External Conduct Standards.

The External Conduct Standards, comprise four standards that charities operating overseas need to comply with in order to maintain their ACNC registration. The Standards will operate in addition to the existing ACNC Governance Standards.

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 operations or activities conducted outside Australia, however minor, will mean charities are required to comply with the Standards.

We have published External Conduct Standards guidance on our website, available at

Charities must conduct their activities in a way that is consistent with the Standards. The ACNC will not require charities to submit information to the ACNC because of the new Standards, unless we request it.

Overdue Annual Information Statements

More than 10,000 2018 Annual Information Statements are overdue. If your charity is yet to submit its 2018 Annual Information Statement, I would encourage you to submit now.

The ACNC can impose financial penalties on charities who fail to submit on time.

Charities also risk having their ACNC registration revoked if they fail to submit two Annual Information Statements.

To submit the Annual Information Statement, log in to the new Charity Portal at If you need some assistance, 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

New registration paper form

The new ‘Apply to register as a charity’ paper form is now available. As an agency that was designed from its inception to be digital by default, paper forms will only be issued in exceptional circumstances.

The new Charity Portal allows individuals and professional advisors to create their own account, apply to register multiple charities, save and resume registration forms, as well as manage charity reporting.

If you want to apply to register a charity, and have circumstances that mean you need our updated paper form, you will need to call our Advice Services team on 13 22 62 to request the form. Each paper form that is issued by Advice Services will have a unique identifying number and will only be able to be used for the organisation for which it was requested.

Please note that old paper registration forms will no longer be accepted after 1 August.

Round 2 of the Australian Aid: Friendship Grant program

A new round of the Australian Aid: Friendship Grants program is now open.

To be eligible to apply for Round 2 Friendship Grant, applying organisations must be not-for-profit Australian community organisations that:

  • have a proven record in implementing international development work in the country of the proposed Friendship Grant Activity;
  • have an existing relationship(s) with an in-country implementing partner(s); and
  • are currently registered with the appropriate regulatory body as per the Round 2 Guidelines.

Round 2 eligible activities include:

  • development activities which build on existing projects to improve the lives of poor and vulnerable people in a way that is sustainable;
  • development activities which use successful and/or innovative approaches to problem solving that have potential for wider application; and
  • development activities that assist and strengthen an overseas community's capacity or socio-economic situation.

Applications will close at 1pm (AEST) on Tuesday 10 September 2019.

Organisations that meet the requirements are encouraged to apply. You can find out more information on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website here.

Education opportunities

Our next webinar will be held on 21 August and will take an in-depth look at the newly introduced External Conduct Standards.

This webinar is not to be missed for any charity that operates overseas, sends money overseas or undertakes activities overseas.

I encourage you to sign up now via to secure your spot.

Best wishes,
The Hon Dr Gary Johns