Welcome to the Winter issue of ACNC Quarterly

ACNC Quarterly is your source of information about the ACNC and tools to help your charity meet its obligations to the ACNC.

From the Commissioner

As the weather slowly warms, I will be making two trips to Perth in the coming months. My colleagues Assistant Commissioners David Locke and Murray Baird and I often travel across the country to meet with charities, government agencies and peak bodies. Even though the ACNC is Melbourne-based, we do this to ensure that we are accessible and available to all in the sector.

I’ll be travelling to Perth from 31 July to 3 August, and again between 11 and 14 September.

I will be speaking at the National Disability Service WA Conferencein Perth from 11 to 12 September. I’d love to see you there.

If you can’t make it to the Conference, I still have some open times in my diary to meet with representatives from the not-for-profit sector. Please contact ACNC Events to organise a time.

You can find a broader list of speaking engagements for the ACNC Executive team below in this edition of the Quarterly.

The Commonwealth Government’s submission period for its discussion paper on potential changes to the Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) tax arrangements closed on 14 July. The proposed changes aim to strengthen DGR governance, reduce complexity and ensure that eligibility is kept up to date.

The ACNC has a keen interest in any proposed changes to DGR arrangements as they would likely affect a great number of registered charities. We made a submission to Treasury outlining our view, which focused on the need for a streamlined approach to DGR endorsement, and reiterated our commitment to reducing red tape for charities.

We feel that any changes to DGR tax arrangements should be in the interests of maintaining a sustainable, diverse and innovative sector, and not add to the regulatory burden on charities.

If you would like to view the ACNC’s submission, as well as the other submissions, you can find them on the Treasury website.

Later this year, the Commonwealth Treasury will organise a review into the first five years of the operation of the ACNC Act and the ACNC Consequential and Transitional Act, as is required in the legislation.

The six month-long review will begin in December, and it is anticipated that consultation with the charity sector will occur during the review process.

The ACNC has commenced identifying potential legislative changes, including elements that have worked well and those that would benefit from a revision. We look forward to bringing these to the reviewers’ attention, and stand ready to provide support and assistance to Treasury or government in relation to the review.

As you may have seen, my term as Commissioner of the ACNC will come to an end on 30 September 2017. This date marks the end of my five-year contract.

It has and continues to be an honour to serve as the inaugural ACNC Commissioner. On a daily basis I am inspired by the hard working people who dedicate their lives to the Australian not-for-profit sector for the benefit of others.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the sector for its support over the past five years; through the establishment of the ACNC, including when the future of the organisation was uncertain.

ACNC Advisory Board Chair, Mr Tony Stuart, recently published some remarks on this matter. You can read those here.

I hope you enjoy this edition of the Quarterly.
Good wishes

Susan Pascoe AM signature
Susan Pascoe AM
ACNC Commissioner

Thousands of Australian charities are now able to begin their latest round of reporting, with the 2017 Annual Information Statement launched on Monday.

Registered charities that report on a calendar year period will be the first to complete the 2017 Annual Information Statement. We encourage all organisations to get an early start on their reporting and avoid any system slowdowns that can occur during peak submission periods.

Completing your 2017 Annual Information Statement also means the most up-to-date information about your charity appears on the ACNC Charity Register.

As more donors, volunteers and grant-makers use the Register to conduct their own due diligence before supporting an organisation, it is increasingly important for charities to ensure their most recent records appear there.

There are major changes to the support materials available to help charities complete their 2017 Annual Information Statement, most notably the 2017 Annual Information Statement Guide.

The Guide has been re-designed for ease of navigation, and the depth of information has been increased. Your charity can start its preparation by reading the Guide: acnc.gov.au/2017AISGuide.

Another significant change is the development of the AIS Hub – a single central point gathering guidance materials, resources and other information relevant to the submission process.

Charities are able to access the 2017 Annual Information Statement Form from the Hub, which also features the Guide and links to other support resources.

The 2017 Form itself includes more detailed help text and dozens of hyperlinks linking directly to relevant sections of the Guide. Among the Form’s new features is a preview function so charities can double-check their responses before submission.

To visit the Hub, view the Guide or start work on your 2017 Annual Information Statement, visit acnc.gov.au/2017AIS.

The vast majority of registered charities have submitted their 2016 Annual Information Statement. We were pleased to find that 90% of registered charities had submitted by 30 June 2017, a significant increase compared to 77% the year prior.

In July the remaining 10% received an overdue reminder, warning them of the consequences of not submitting an Annual Information Statement.

These important notices are sent to the charity’s Address For Service (AFS). For this reason, it is critical that we have an up-to-date AFS for your charity. Be sure to regularly check your charity’s AFS on the Charity Register at acnc.gov.au/findacharity.

We encourage those charities with outstanding Annual Information Statements to log into the Charity Portal and submit their reports as soon as possible to avoid financial penalties and revocation.

Each year the ACNC produces a series of special sub-reports derived from the Australian Charities Report.

Further to the Australia’s Smallest Charities 2015 report, published in May 2017, we have now released Australia’s Aged Care Charities in 2015.

This report profiles 1,465 registered charities in Australia that listed their main activity as aged care in the 2015 Annual Information Statement.

The report found that whilst that number only accounts for 2.9% of all registered charities, those operating in aged care make a significant difference to the wider charity sector.

In addition to employing 14% of staff across the sector, aged care charities account for more than 9% of the sector’s total income – a substantial portion given the minor number of charities operating in that area of expertise.

Australia’s aged care charities had total combined income of $12.5 billion in 2015.

The report also found that aged care charities are much more likely to operate with paid staff than other charities.

In 2015, more than 170,000 people were employed by aged care charities on either a full-time, part-time or casual basis.

While many aged care charities focus on the delivery of residential aged care and home care services, some undertake a much wider range of activities – including providing cultural and recreational opportunities, social services and religious services.

The Australia’s Aged Care Charities in 2015 report was produced by the ACNC in collaboration with the Centre for Social Impact and the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.

To find out more and to explore the data, visit australiancharities.acnc.gov.au.

On 6 June 2017 the ACT Legislative Assembly passed the Red Tape Reduction Legislation Amendment Bill.

The changes mean that ACNC-registered charities that fundraise in the ACT will no longer require licenses to do so.

They will also no longer need to report annually to Access Canberra, and will be exempt from regulation under the ACT Charitable Collections Act.

The ACT’s incorporated associations that are registered with ACNC will also benefit from reduced reporting requirements.

Instead, registered charities that are incorporated associations in the ACT will provide this information to the ACNC.

The changes came into effect on 1 July 2017.

We have contacted registered charities in the ACT to explain these changes in partnership with Access Canberra.

You can find more information on acnc.gov.au/redtapereduction and the ACT Government website.

The ACNC continues to engage in discussions with officials across Commonwealth and state and territory governments to reduce red tape for registered charities. Significant progress has already been made in

Tasmania, South Australia, and more recently, Victoria.

Visit acnc.gov.au/redtapereduction to learn more about our red tape reduction progress.

As the national regulator of a diverse sector, the ACNC is committed to working closely with our stakeholders in the not-for-profit sector.

The ACNC Executive team – Commissioner Susan Pascoe AM and Assistant Commissioners David Locke and Murray Baird – regularly travel around Australia to speak at various events, ranging from national conferences to small breakfast talks.

Below is a list of some of the ACNC Executive team’s speaking engagements for the latter part of 2017.






David Locke

Pitcher Partners NFP Survey Launch, Melbourne, Vic


Murray Baird

CBM Australia Board Strategy Weekend, Melbourne, Vic


Susan Pascoe AM

Edmund Rice Education Australia Deputy Principals Conference 2017, Geelong, Vic


Susan Pascoe AM

Australian Accounting Standards Board Meeting, Melbourne, Vic


David Locke

Morgan Stanley and Xponential Group Lunch Series, Brisbane, Qld



Susan Pascoe AM

Educate Plus 2017 NSW-ACT Conference, Sydney, NSW


Susan Pascoe AM

National Disability Services WA Conference 2017, Perth, WA


Murray Baird

LegalWise Seminar – Not-for-Profits and Charities: Regulatory and Compliance Forum, Sydney, NSW


Susan Pascoe AM

CommBank’s 2017 Not-for-Profit Treasurers’ Awards, Sydney, NSW


Murray Baird

RSL National Conference, Canberra, ACT



David Locke

Television Education Network Schools Law Conference, Gold Coast, Qld

17 - 18

Murray Baird

National Association of Charitable Recycling Organsations 2017 Conference, Sydney, NSW

18 - 19

David Locke

Legacy National Conference 2017, Wollongong, NSW



To be confirmed

Governance Institute of Australia: Not-for-Profit Governance Forum, Sydney, NSW


David Locke

Morgan Stanley and Xponential Speaker Series, Adelaide, SA

ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe AM and Assistant Commissioner Murray Baird have been visiting capital cities to bring together leaders representing the breadth of faith-based charities, to discuss the issues concerning their members and their organisations, as we did in 2015.

These dynamic, interactive sessions have given faith-based charities an opportunity to raise issues important to them – including reporting obligations, red tape reduction, the logistics of running a charity, and ensuring compliance.

You can read more about these roundtables on the ACNC website.

Later in the year we will also be meeting with charities that represent culturally and linguistically diverse communities. We will provide an update on those sessions which will be held in each capital city in the coming months.

We spoke with Launch Housing about the work the charity does.

What does your charity do?

Launch Housing is an independent Melbourne-based community organisation with a single mission: to end homelessness.

The organisation was formed in July 2015 from the merger of two of Melbourne’s largest and most respected homelessness services, HomeGround Services and Hanover.

What challenges does your charity face and how do you overcome them?

The merger was a strong and determined response to the growing number of people experiencing homelessness. Ensuring we strike the right balance between supporting the immediate needs of our clients and remaining focused and determined in our mission to end homelessness is critical to us.

What’s the most rewarding thing about the work you do?

Getting people housed and keeping them housed is by far our greatest reward. It is extraordinary to see the impact that a safe home has on people’s lives.

What tips do you have for charity governance?

A strong, diverse board, who are committed to the vision, mission and values of the organisation is critical to ensuring that all governance matters are rigorous and are aligned to the work of our organisation.

(If your charity would like to be featured in Charity Chat, email CharityChat@acnc.gov.au.)

2017 Annual Information Statement Guide

Our guide to help you complete the 2017 Annual Information Statement. It covers all the questions, and explains how to answer them.

Crowdfunding and charities

A guide for charities, individual fundraisers and donors to help negotiate the responsible and safe use of crowdfunding.

Board remuneration

Our new guide provides an overview of board remuneration, the common concerns involved and some questions to help focus a charity’s thinking on the issue.


We have just launched our podcast series: ACNC Charity Chat. These short audio discussions feature a chat with an expert member of the ACNC and cover various topics of interest, ranging from the operational aspects of ACNC charity registration to broader issues facing the charity and not-for-profit sector and the public in general.

Digital data governance

Stanford’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society has a number of free resources available to help your charity think about how to use digital resources safely, ethically and effectively. The PACS team publishes a number of tools, policy templates and guidelines to help your charity build digital data governance programs that align with your purpose. Visit digitalimpact.io to access the Digital Impact Toolkit.

Governance around digital data and digital interactions is no longer a “nice to have”, and the ACNC encourages your charity to access these resource and assess what your digital data governance needs may be

Advice Services’ most frequently asked questions

How can I reset my password for the ACNC Charity Portal?

If you’ve lost or forgotten your password, you can reset it online at charity.acnc.gov.au.

You will need your charity’s ABN and answer some questions to confirm that you are authorised to reset the password.

I got a reminder about submitting my Annual Information Statement but I thought that I’d already submitted. What’s happened?

It could be that you submitted shortly after we sent the reminder. You can easily check if you’ve submitted by logging on to the Charity Portal.

If your charity is an incorporated association, also check that you aren’t confusing ACNC with your state regulator.

How do I update the contact details for our existing Responsible Persons?

The Charity Portal does not yet have the functionality to allow you to update the details for an existing Responsible Person. If you need to update these details, send an email to advice@acnc.gov.au with the new contact details and we will update them for you.

My charity is a company and our auditor just resigned. Do we need to notify you?

No. You don’t need to tell ACNC if your company has appointed or removed an auditor. But you do need to notify ASIC if your auditor has been removed or has resigned. For more information, contact ASIC.

The ACNC webinars are reaching out to larger numbers of attendees than ever before.

These free sessions offer a focused interactive discussion on specific topics, all designed to help people involved with charities better understand issues facing the charity sector and their obligations to the ACNC.

Upcoming webinars:

  • 22 August: Staying out of trouble – Avoiding charity pitfalls
  • 19 September: Welcome to the board – Information for new charity board members
  • 17 October: Charities and fundraising – Issues and risks
  • 14 November: A look at Health Promotion Charities and Public Benevolent Institutions

Register for free, and check the full schedule of upcoming webinars or view previous webinars at acnc.gov.au/webinars.