Many will still be enjoying their summer holidays when this edition of ACNC Quarterly arrives in their inbox. No matter when you read this, I hope you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Before I mention the priorities for 2017, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on some of the highlights of 2016. The highlight of 2016 came on 4 March, when the Minister for Social Services, the Hon Christian Porter MP, and the then Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, announced the decision of the Turnbull Government to retain the ACNC. This has provided the charity sector with certainty and stability.
The decision was the catalyst for significant red tape reduction in 2016. Last year both the Tasmanian and South Australian Parliaments passed legislation that will reduce the reporting burden for registered charities in those states, with the South Australian legislation taking effect on 1 December 2016. We hope that this momentum will continue in 2017.
In 2016, the ACNC welcomed three new Advisory Board members, including the new Chair, Mr Tony Stuart. Tony brings with him a great deal of experience in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors, and is currently the CEO of UNICEF Australia. The other new members who joined ongoing members Ms Fiona McLeay, Ms Gina Anderson and Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes were Mr Martin Laverty, CEO of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and Professor David Gilchrist, Director of the Curtin University’s Not-for-profit Initiative. You can read more about our Advisory Board, including meeting summaries, at acnc.gov.au/advisoryboard.
Another major milestone in 2016 was the launch of the ACNC’s Tick of Charity Registration, or Registered Charity Tick for short. Over the past four years registered charities have asked for a logo they can use to show their charity status, and I’m proud to say that in December 2016 we launched the simple, yet attractive, Registered Charity Tick.
The purpose of the Registered Charity Tick is to help donors and members of the public quickly and easily identify a charity registered with the ACNC, which our research shows increases trust in charities. I’m pleased to say that over 4,000 registered charities have logged into the Charity Portal and downloaded their Charity Tick already. It was a pleasure visiting Mission Australia’s
Surry Hills facility in Sydney to launch the new logo, where I presented Mission’s CEO, Catherine Yeomans, with a framed Registered Charity Tick.
We also launched the Australian Charities Report 2015 at Mission Australia on 14 December 2016. The Australian Charities Report is effectively a census of the sector which analyses the information charities provided in the Annual Information Statement and annual financial reports.
Looking ahead to 2017, we will continue to:
- prioritise our work to reduce red tape for charities, building on the progress that was made in 2016,
- work with charities to improve the quality of the information available to the public on the Charity Register through guidance, education and our data integrity project,
- provide the sector and the public with high-quality research and analysis, and
- investigate concerns about registered charities to ensure only charities meeting their obligations under the law remain registered.
Finally, thank you for your tireless efforts providing vital services to our communities in 2016. I look forward to seeing and hearing about the work of Australia’s charity sector in 2017.
Susan Pascoe AM