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The application

An organisation applied to the ACNC for registration as a charity with the subtype of ‘advancing health’.

The organisation’s governing document stated that its purpose was to provide relief to people in Australia who are in necessitous circumstances.

The ACNC assessed the organisation as being a not-for-profit because its governing document contained appropriate 'not-for-profit' and 'dissolution' clauses. The organisation also demonstrated compliance with the ACNC Governance Standards.

ACNC decision making process

The organisation applied to be registered with the subtype ‘advancing health,’ stating that its aim was to alleviate the financial distress of an individual who was experiencing necessitous circumstances because they were unable to afford everything they needed to have a modest standard of living due to the cost associated with managing their health conditions.

The organisation stated that it would achieve this aim by providing financial assistance to that individual.

This aim was consistent with the organisation’s purpose of relieving necessitous circumstances. For an organisation to have the purpose of relieving necessitous circumstances, it must provide funds or goods necessary for people to have a modest standard of living in the Australian community.

The ACNC had to consider if it was entitled to registration with the charity subtype of 'advancing health'.

An organisation is entitled to registration with a particular subtype of charity if it has a charitable purpose that corresponds with that subtype.

‘Advancing health’ is a charitable purpose that encompasses ‘the prevention or relief of sickness, disease, or human suffering’.

In this case, the organisation applying for charity registration was not looking to ‘prevent or relieve sickness, disease or human suffering’, or to advance health generally, but was instead looking to provide financial assistance to an individual experiencing necessitous circumstances due to the costs associated with managing their health conditions.

Because the organisation did not have a charitable purpose of ‘advancing health,’ it was not entitled to be registered with the charity subtype of ‘advancing health’.

However, ‘advancing social or public welfare’ is a charitable purpose that encompasses providing relief to people experiencing poverty, distress, or disadvantage, including people in necessitous circumstances.

A charity with one of these purposes is entitled to registration as the charity subtype of ‘advancing social or public welfare'.

As a result of discussions with the ACNC, the organisation withdrew its application for registration with the charity subtype of ‘advancing health’ and instead applied to be registered with the charity subtype of ‘advancing social or public welfare’.

To be registered as a charity, a not-for-profit must have charitable purposes that are ‘for the public benefit’. A charity's purpose is considered to be for the public benefit if achieving that purpose would be of benefit to the general public, or to a 'sufficient section of the general public'.

However, there are situations where the public benefit test is limited or does not apply.

For organisations relieving the necessitous circumstances of people who are in Australia, the benefit does not have to be directed to the general public and can be directed to one or more people.

Outcome

The ACNC registered the organisation as a charity with the charity subtype of ‘advancing social or public welfare.’