Commissioner's Interpretation Statement


Commissioner’s Interpretation Statements provide guidance to ACNC staff, charities and the public on how the ACNC understands the law that applies to charities. These statements reflect our current understanding of the law on charity and are binding on ACNC staff.

While we do not have the power to produce binding rulings, consistent with our objects and regulatory approach we will ensure that organisations that rely on the Interpretation Statements are treated fairly.

If the law or an Interpretation Statement changes, we will apply the new position from the date of the change, not retrospectively in a way that could disadvantage a charity that has relied on the Interpretation Statement. In most cases, we will also allow a period of time for charities to respond to any change.

The purpose of this Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement is to provide guidance on the application of charity law to housing providers. The main issues addressed are:

  • What charitable purposes may be fulfilled through the provision of housing?
  • To whom can charitable housing be provided?
  • What kinds of housing can be provided as charitable?
  • How does commercial activity fit with the provision of charitable housing?
  • What kind of interaction can occur between Government and charitable housing providers?
  • This Interpretation Statement should be read together with Appendix A, which sets out the background and reasoning behind the statement.

    This Interpretation Statement and paper were approved by the Commissioner on 1 December 2014.