ACNC Legislation Review

In its response to the ACNC Legislation Review that was released today, the Government has responded to each of the 30 recommendations, agreeing with 18 of them.

The ACNC welcomes the response to the review. It is a great opportunity to build upon the foundation of the ACNC to help us become an even more effective regulator.

It is important to note that these changes will not be immediate as some of the responses require legislative amendments, or significant changes to our processes.

We will be working closely with the Government to work out the details and implement these recommendations. The charity sector will have the opportunity to provide input on some of the recommendations. We will keep you informed of any changes that are likely to take place and opportunities to provide feedback.

Key recommendations supported by the government:

Supporting ACNC as an effective regulator

• Enabling swifter decision making through expanded delegation powers
• Enhancing ACNC powers to detect breaches of governance standards and deal with misconduct
• Allowing ACNC to continue its strong focus on education and research

Reducing Red Tape

• Adjusting the reporting thresholds for registered charities
• Streamlining and harmonising the regulatory requirements across all jurisdictions
• Simplifying reporting requirements for small entities
• Sharing data on charities between Commonwealth agencies

Strengthening Trust

• Mandating the disclosure of related party transactions and for large charities, aggregated remuneration paid to responsible persons
• Sharing information on ACNC investigations, when in the public interest
• Disqualifying responsible persons who have certain criminal convictions

The report is available to download from the Treasury website.

Special webinar - Charities and the bushfire disaster response

The ACNC will present a special webinar next Thursday 12 March for charities helping with bushfire disaster relief.

The webinar - Charities and the bushfire disaster response – is aimed at helping charities that have received an influx of donations or funding to help conduct bushfire-related relief efforts, or who are working in areas affected by the recent Australian bushfires.

It will look at the risks these charities might encounter while carrying out their work. Those risks might be related to an increase in donations received, the work they are doing in bushfire affected areas, or the people or wildlife they come into contact with.

The webinar will discuss the risks, as well as provide practical suggestions on addressing them.

To register, visit www.acnc.gov.au/webinars.

Charity plus probity is tough gig -opinion piece for The Australian Financial Review

Last week I wrote an opinion column for The Australian Financial Review on the challenges charities face managing the sudden influx of donations they have received for bushfire relief work and the slow and long process to recovery.

I spoke about the coordinated efforts of charities and other agencies alike to provide relief to the affected communities and the importance of having trained volunteers to help the charities achieve their purpose.

I also mentioned the lessons the recent bushfires have provided, and that the ACNC is gathering for the Commonwealth, for future disasters. These include the need for separate accounting for disaster funds, the need to educate the public on the legal requirements of charitable trusts and the need to track the collective impact of funds.

Read the full article on our website.

Overdue 2019 Annual Information Statements

The 2019 Annual Information Statement is now overdue for approximately 6442 charities that operate on a standard financial year (1 July to 30 June). Submit your Annual Information Statement as soon as possible to avoid receiving penalties.

Best wishes,
The Hon Dr Gary Johns