The ACNC Annual Report 2021-22 provides an overview of the Commission's work in the 2021-22 financial year.

You can download a copy of our Annual Report as a PDF file, or you can read it here in full.

Our year in review

A photo of acting Commissioner Deborah Jenkins

I am pleased to present the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) Annual Report for 2021–22.

Our dedicated staff have worked hard throughout the year to achieve our priorities as set out in the 2021–22 Corporate Plan. They have also delivered new projects that will help charities and the broader sector.

Charities are operating in an increasingly volatile and complex environment, but the sector is resilient, and its contribution continues to be substantial. The Australian Charities Report 8th edition, released in June 2022, showed charity revenue increased by $10 billion to $176 billion but expenses also increased by $10.2 billion.

The sector employed 10.5% of the Australian workforce, yet 51% of all charities still operated without paid staff. Unfortunately, volunteer numbers declined slightly. A trend also seen in the wider not-for-profit sector.

While the demands on charities increased significantly, we worked hard at the ACNC to support charities by, for example, providing reporting extensions to charities in disaster affected areas.

In March 2022, we introduced long-planned enhancements to the Charity Register. We expect these enhancements to support charities to meet their objectives, and make it easier for donors, grantmakers, collaborators and volunteers to find them.

The enhancements allow anyone to search for charity programs – by location or program type, and without having to know the names of the charities doing the work.

These enhancements were welcomed by charities and leaders across the sector, and visits to the register grew, with 5.6 million searches for the year.

Most Australian charities are volunteer run (51%), and the majority are small organisations (65%) with no online presence. The enhanced register features provide a greater opportunity for these small charities to publicly showcase the work they do.

We drive visitors to the Charity Register as a source of truth, so we must ensure that the data on the register is accurate and up-to-date. Importantly, we also must support charities to understand how they can maintain their charity status.

To support that end, in the last 12 months we checked thousands of charity records to ensure charities were maintaining their charitable purposes and entitlement to registration. Where we identified risks, we contacted charities to provide them with assistance to address the issues.

We worked with charities to amend issues we identified, providing guidance on how those issues needed to be addressed.

To assist more charities to improve their governance, we introduced new compliance programs. We asked charities to complete a self-evaluation designed to help them assess whether they were meeting their obligations.

New tools and methods allowed us to take a more nuanced approach to compliance, where we weighed up factors including impact, risk and resource implications. This enabled us to base our engagement on the level of potential risk and support a greater number of charities to avoid potential problems.

We also published the Compliance Reviews Report that summarised findings from a series of reviews of different charity cohorts. As part of this work, we provided specific advice to charities working with vulnerable children overseas and added to the guidance we provide to all charities operating overseas.

With such a diverse sector, these reviews allowed us to look closely at specific charity cohorts, identify any issues and provide tailored advice. They also helped us refine our processes for identifying and managing risks of non-compliance.

As always, the voices of charities and those with an interest in the sector were important.

During 2021–22, our Executive and senior leadership team met with 178 charities, sector representatives or peak bodies. On-the-ground meetings provided us with valuable insights into the day-to-day issues affecting charities.

We renewed the membership of our Adviser and Sector Forums and created a new Consultation Panel to ensure we heard from a broad range of voices.

Our stakeholders provided feedback on many ACNC initiatives, including the development of guidance on related party transactions and the updated Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement on the Provision of Housing.

We welcomed input from stakeholder groups, including peak accounting bodies.

This stakeholder engagement is critical to our work, and we appreciate the contributions of everyone who participated in our forums or provided feedback on initiatives.

I believe the key achievements of this year will provide benefits to charities for many years to come.

I hope you will find this report on our activities for 2021–22 insightful, as it demonstrates how we meet our objects for the benefit of charities and the public.

Deborah Jenkins signature

Deborah Jenkins
ACNC Acting Commissioner

Tony Stuart, Chair of the ACNC Advisory Board, colour photo headshot

A highlight of this year has been meeting with charities and stakeholders through guest presentations to the Board, which added to our knowledge and prompted discussions about key issues affecting the sector.

We included these sessions to increase our contact with charities and gain insights into their work. These meetings also allowed for discussion about the ACNC’s role as a regulator and how it impacts charities in practical terms.

The Advisory Board welcomed the opportunity to provide continued feedback to the Commissioner and ACNC team on a range of issues and initiatives based on our sector experiences.

Our aim has always been to act as a conduit between different stakeholders within the sector and the ACNC, to build strong and collaborative relationships and to share our expertise in the charity sector, law, taxation and accounting.

An initiative that came to fruition this year was the enhanced ACNC Charity Register.

The launch of the enhanced Charity Register was a key achievement for the ACNC and the culmination of many years’ work. The aim was to increase charity and sector visibility by having the Register provide more detailed information.

The addition of program information on the Register makes it a more useful tool for all stakeholders – from charities, to the public, to philanthropists and volunteers.

It was critical that we understood the terminology charities used to describe their work – programs – and used a classification system that ensured every charity was using a shared language when reporting to the ACNC. The resulting search provides detailed information that allows anyone to search by a cause, program, beneficiary or location.

The enhanced Charity Register provides a new window into the sector by allowing users to more easily find groups of charities running the same type of program, serving the same beneficiary group or operating in the same area. The level of detail for users is a substantial leap from what was available before and, with the Register’s added location function, users can literally map the areas of the sector they are interested in.

Accordingly, the benefits for charities are substantial. They can be found more easily through searches related to their work. They can use the program listing to capture more of what they do, more accurately. For donors, it is now much easier to find a cause close to their heart.

The Register in its enhanced form becomes a tool for collaboration – charities can see who is operating in their area, find charities doing similar or complementary work to them, or scan the environment to find potential partners. Grantmakers and philanthropists can find charities undertaking work in the specific areas or involving the specific beneficiaries they wish to support.

The feedback on the enhanced Charity Register has been overwhelmingly positive, and its success has been reflected in growing numbers of Register searches. It is a significant innovation and we have been delighted to see it come into operation to benefit the sector.

After another challenging and inspiring year, I would like to thank the Advisory Board members for their continued commitment to the sector, and their generosity in sharing their expertise. Our members’ dedication, enthusiasm and expertise are a great asset to the ACNC.

Tony Stuart
Chair, ACNC Advisory Board

Our organisation

The ACNC is the national regulator of charities. We are responsible for administering the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 (Cth) (the ACNC Act) and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Regulation 2013 (Cth), our primary legislation and legislative instrument.

The ACNC was established by the ACNC Act, which has the following three objects:

  • maintain, protect and enhance public trust and confidence in the Australian not-for-profit sector
  • support and sustain a robust, vibrant, independent and innovative Australian not-forprofit sector
  • promote the reduction of unnecessary regulatory obligations on the Australian not-forprofit sector.

Although the ACNC Act refers to not-for-profits and the not-for-profit sector, the ACNC only regulates registered charities — organisations that meet the definition of charity as set out in the Charities Act 2013 (Cth) (the Charities Act).

We determine whether an organisation meets the legal definition of charity and is entitled to registration as a charity. Our guidance and support helps charities understand and meet their obligations.

We maintain the ACNC Charity Register – an online, searchable register of charities. The Charity Register enhances transparency by publishing information about charities’ governance, activities, operations, and finances. The public can use the Charity Register to find registered charities.

We use the information we collect about charities to provide an overview of the charity sector and report on emerging trends through the annual Australian Charities Report.

When a charity fails to meet its obligations and acts in a way that poses a serious risk to public trust and confidence, we investigate and act. Our actions, which are consistent with our regulatory approach, focus on assisting charities to stay on the right track to support good governance and ensure charities’ assets are used for their intended purposes.

When implementing new regulation, we commit to working with charities and other stakeholders to minimise any unnecessary regulatory burden. We also work with state and territory governments, in addition to Commonwealth government agencies, to reduce unnecessary regulatory obligations for charities.

We work to harmonise and simplify reporting for charities and establish data sharing agreements to help them to consolidate their reporting to government.

We strive to be an innovative leader in charity regulation. We believe in good governance, honest respectful relations and transparent administration.

Our Corporate Plan 2021–22 outlines our vision, values and strategic priorities for the year. Our vision is ‘charities that inspire confidence and respect’. Our vision and purposes inform the way we engage with charities, governments and the public.

Our objects guide our activities, and our supporting capabilities help us deliver our vision. Our values are: fairness, accountability, independence, integrity and respect. These values align with the Australian Public Service values and underpin the way we perform our work.

Infographic of ACNC vision, purposes, activities and supporting capabilities.

Deborah Jenkins, Acting Commissioner
August 2022 – current

Deborah Jenkins took up the role of Acting Commissioner on 1 August 2022. With a background in finance and economics, Deborah was most recently the Deputy Commissioner, Small Business at the Australian Taxation Office.

An experienced regulator, she brings a passion for developing strong stakeholder relationships to work collaboratively to achieve outcomes, as well as a wealth of experience delivering quality client experience. Prior to working at the ATO Deborah was a partner at KPMG.

The Hon Dr Gary Johns, Commissioner
December 2017 – July 2022

The Hon Dr Gary Johns held the role of Commissioner from 2017-2022 following a long and varied career in public service and policy advice, including as the author or editor of nine books on public policy. He was an inaugural board member of Volunteers Australia, a member of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership, and served on the committee to design the Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.

Dr Johns was a member of the House of Representatives from 1987–1996 and served variously as Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, and Special Minister of State and Assistant Minister for Industrial Relations. He served as an Associate Commissioner of the Commonwealth Productivity Commission from 2002–2004.

He received the Centenary Medal in 2001 and the Fulbright Professional Award in Australian-United States Alliance Studies in 2002, which was served at Georgetown University, Washington DC.

He was Senior Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs, senior consultant with ACIL Tasman, Associate Professor, Australian Catholic University, Visiting Fellow at QUT Business, and is an adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland.

Dr Johns stepped down from the role of Commissioner from 31 July 2022.

Anna Longley, Assistant Commissioner – General Counsel
November 2019 – present

Anna Longley is the ACNC’s Assistant Commissioner – General Counsel. She is the senior legal advisor to the ACNC Commissioner and contributes to corporate and strategic leadership as a member of the Executive team.

Prior to this, Anna was an Assistant Commissioner at the Australian Taxation Office and led audit and assurance teams on work involving high wealth individuals, private groups and not-for-profit entities. She also sat on the ATO General Anti-Avoidance Rules Panel.

Through previous roles, Anna gained significant experience with administrative law, dispute resolution and litigation. Anna holds a Bachelor of Laws with Honours, a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice and a Master of Taxation. She was admitted to practice as a lawyer in 2005.

In the charity sector, Anna has spent several years volunteering for and on the boards of community legal centres.

The ACNC has six directorates, each of which plays a crucial role in helping us achieve the objects of the ACNC Act.

Advice Services, Education and Public Affairs

Our Advice Services team provides information to charities and members of the public about a wide range of topics related to charity governance and the charity sector. The team responds to written and phone enquiries about obligations and legislation affecting charities, and helps people navigate the ACNC website, Charity Register and Charity Portal.

Enquiries to Advice Services help the ACNC identify information gaps and improve our services to charities, their advisors and the public.

Our Education and Public Affairs team manages internal and external communications, including the ACNC website and its content, social media, and government and media relations.

The team is responsible for developing guidance and resources to help charities meet their obligations to the ACNC and for building the public profile of the ACNC, including promoting accessible information about Australia’s charity sector.

Compliance

Our Compliance team works to address risks that pose a threat to trust and confidence in the charity sector. The team uses analytics and intelligence to identify risks and decide on appropriate action.

The Compliance team takes proportionate action when addressing a charity’s non-compliance. The team considers several factors in determining appropriate action, including the severity and persistence of the non-compliance, the risk of harm to the sector and community, and the willingness and ability of the charity to address the non-compliance.

They use a combination of guidance and investigative methods to address non-compliance and support charities in meeting their obligations. When they find that a charity has been involved in serious or deliberate non‑compliance, they may use their enforcement powers or revoke the charity’s registration.

Information Technology

Our Information Technology (IT) team manages the implementation, maintenance and support of IT services, platforms and solutions.

The team manages system configuration and architecture as well as information governance. It also provides data to support ACNC operations and inform strategic decisions, as well as overseeing data exchanges with other government agencies.

Legal and Policy

Our Legal and Policy team advises the Commissioner and staff on interpretation and application of the ACNC Act, the Charities Act and other applicable legislation and regulations. The team also manages legal review and appeal proceedings of ACNC administrative decisions.

Legal and Policy advises on memoranda of understanding with external agencies, agreements and contracts, and manages obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (the FOI Act) and the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the Privacy Act).

It also coordinates submissions to parliamentary inquiries and consultative bodies on policy and legislative initiatives and supports strategic policy work and engagement with the ACNC’s Adviser and Sector Forums.

Reporting, Red Tape Reduction and Corporate Services

Our Reporting and Red Tape Reduction team administers our reporting framework and works with other government agencies to reduce red tape for charities.

The team administers reporting obligations set out in ACNC legislation, manages the Charity Passport, and oversees the design of the Annual Information Statement and works to ensure the integrity of the data it collects from charities. The Reporting and Red Tape Reduction team also undertakes analysis of ACNC data, including the analysis for the annual Australian Charities Report.

Our Corporate Services team oversees resource management. The team is committed to developing and maintaining a high performing workforce that can effectively manage risks as well as deliver the priorities set out in our corporate plan.

The team works collaboratively across the ACNC to increase efficiency and innovation in human resources, governance and finances.

Registration

Our Registration team is responsible for assessing charity registration applications and reviewing charities’ continued entitlement to registration.

The team also assesses requests from charities to have information withheld from the Charity Register, to have new charity subtypes added to their registration, and to have their registration voluntarily revoked.

The team helps streamline the process through which charities get access to Commonwealth charity tax concessions by collecting necessary information and passing it to the ATO.

Our Advisory Board The ACNC Advisory Board supports and advises the ACNC Commissioner.

The Board is appointed by the Minister and consists of up to eight ‘general members’ with expertise in the not-for-profit sector, law, taxation or accounting, and specified office holders. The Board currently includes one ex officio member.

General members are appointed for a term of up to three years. Ex officio members remain on the Board for as long as they hold the specified office. The Board meets quarterly.

In 2021–22 there were no changes to the membership of the Board.

General members

Tony Stuart Tony

Stuart is the Chair of the ACNC Advisory Board, a member of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership, and chaired the Charity, Philanthropy and Fundraising Advisory Committee to the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission. He is the Chief Executive Officer of UNICEF Australia.

Previously, Tony was the Group Chief Executive Officer of National Roads and Motorists’ Association, one of Australia’s largest not-for-profit organisations. He is a former Director of the Heart Research Institute, the Starlight Children’s Foundation and Business Council of Cooperatives and Mutuals. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.

Dr Martin Laverty

Dr Martin Laverty is Deputy Chair of the ACNC Advisory Board. He is Chief Executive of Aruma, a national disability services charity. In previous roles he has been Chief Executive of the Australian Medical Association, The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, Catholic Health Australia, and the NSW Muscular Dystrophy Association. He was an inaugural Director of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Chair of the Heart Foundation and disability charities Unison Disability and Challenge Southern Highlands. Dr Laverty was also a member of the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission advisory group of charities.

He is currently a director of the international aid organisation Caritas Australia and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia’s Not-for-Profits Initiative. A lawyer by training, Dr Laverty’s doctorate is in board director contributions to charitable organisation outcomes.

David Pigott

David Pigott is a board member of Uniting NSW and ACT. He has served as a member of the NSW Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing. He was previously an executive at Mission Australia and has been an adviser to federal and state governments, including as private secretary to the NSW Premier.

David is a former non-executive director of Child Fund Australia and was Chair of the Ella Centre, a disability and aged services support charity in Sydney’s Inner West.

Heather Watson

Heather Watson is a specialist charity lawyer with experience across the not-for-profit sector. She holds non-executive appointments with a number of charities including as Chair of Uniting NSW.ACT and the Epic Good Foundation, and a director of Uniting (Victoria and Tasmania), Australian Regional and Remote Community Services, and National Affordable Housing.

Peter Hogan

Peter Hogan is a Chartered Accountant with more than 50 years of experience. Peter began his career at the ATO before moving into the private sector and becoming a corporate tax partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Since his retirement from PwC, Peter has served on the Boards of several public companies listed on the ASX and the Singapore Stock Exchange. Peter has also served as Deputy Chair of Villa Maria Catholic Homes Ltd, Director and Treasurer of Edmund Rice Foundation (Australia) Ltd and is a former Board Chair of St Bernard’s College, Essendon.

Peter currently serves as a Member of the Federal Government’s Tax Practitioners Board and on the Board of Don Bosco (Brunswick) Youth Foundation Inc.

Dr Susan Alberti AC

Dr Susan Alberti AC is one of Australia’s pre‑eminent philanthropists and founder and Chair of the Susan Alberti Medical Research Foundation. Dr Alberti was the leading force behind the establishment of the Australian Football League’s elite women’s competition, AFLW.

Dr Alberti has been awarded the Member of the Order of Australia, Officer of the Order of Australia, the Companion of the Order of Australia and was named 2017 Melburnian of the Year and 2018 Victorian of the Year. Dr Alberti stepped down from the Advisory Board from 22 July 2022.

Ex officio members

Dini Soulio

Dini Soulio is the Commissioner of Consumer Affairs and Liquor and Gambling with Consumer and Business Services (CBS) in South Australia. CBS has a broad portfolio which includes regulation of charities.

Dini’s background is as a solicitor in private practice, working in the areas of insurance, workers’ compensation and criminal law. He has also held senior regulatory roles with Customs and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Engagement activities

Infographic outlining statistics of ACNC's public engagement

Registration activities

Infographic outlining statistics of ACNC's charity registration efforts

Regulatory activity and enforcement action

Infographic outlining statistics of ACNC's regulatory activities

Performance

The ACNC’s purpose and performance measures were published in our 2021–22 Corporate Plan.

Our core purposes align with the objects in the ACNC Act:

  • maintain, protect and enhance public trust and confidence in the Australian not-for-profit sector
  • support and sustain a robust, vibrant, independent and innovative Australian not-for-profit sector
  • promote the reduction of unnecessary regulatory obligations on the Australian not-for-profit sector.

To achieve our purposes, we:

  • maintain a public register of Australian charities
  • register new charities and revoke the registration of organisations no longer entitled to charity registration
  • collect information on charities annually
  • provide advice and guidance to charities and the public
  • disseminate resources to encourage better practice
  • enhance transparency and promote good governance of the sector
  • monitor charities for compliance with legal requirements, as well as act on identified concerns
  • work across governments to reduce unnecessary regulation.

Although the ACNC operates independently, we are included in the ATO’s program structure and are one of the programs that delivers the ATO’s outcome.

The ATO’s outcome statement is:

Confidence in the administration of aspects of Australia’s taxation and superannuation systems through helping people understand their rights and obligations, improving ease of compliance and access to benefits, and managing non-compliance with the law.

As Program 1.4 of the ATO’s program structure, our deliverables and performance indicators, which are used to assess and monitor our performance, are published in the Treasury Portfolio Budget Statements.

These deliverables and performance indicators are the same as the priorities and performance measures contained within our corporate plan.

In line with the Commonwealth Government’s enhanced performance framework, our performance measurement and reporting processes were assessed against the requirements of government entities under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth) (the PGPA Act). Our performance for each criterion is graded as described in Table 3.1.

Table 3.1: Criterion result grading
Result Description
Met Target met or exceeded.
Partially met Some elements of the target were met and issues managed. Partially met is 80% or more of the target achieved.
Not met No or minimal progress was made against the target.

Purpose 1: Maintain, protect and enhance public trust and confidence in the Australian not-for-profit sector

No. Performance measure and Source Annual target Result
1.1

Percentage of new charity registrations completed within agreed timeframes

  • 2021–22 ATO PBS page 212
  • 2021–22 ACNC Corporate Plan page 9
90% Partially met
1.2

Percentage of charities complying with timeliness of Annual Information Statement submission requirements

  • 2021–22 ATO PBS page 212
  • 2021–22 ACNC Corporate Plan page 9
75% Partially met
1.3

Percentage of investigations finalised within 12 months

  • 2021–22 ATO PBS page 212
  • 2021–22 ACNC Corporate Plan page 9
75% Met
1.4

Number of DGR reviews conducted annually

  • 2021–22 ACNC Corporate Plan page 9
2% of DGR-endorsed charities (464 charities) Met
1.5

Number of compliance risk reviews conducted annually

  • 2021–22 ACNC Corporate Plan page 9
50 Met

Analysis of performance

Charity registration

This year we processed 6,015 charity registration applications, with 99% received through our online application form. We registered 3,152 charities.

The remainder of the applications were:

  • closed because the application was incomplete
  • withdrawn as they became aware after discussions they didn’t meet the requirements, or
  • refused as they were either not charitable or didn’t provide enough information to allow us to make a decision.

To determine an organisation’s eligibility for registration as a charity, we assess applications according to the requirements of:

  • the ACNC Act
  • the Charities Act
  • the Charities (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2013 (Cth), and
  • common law.

When an application does not have sufficient information to determine eligibility, we ask the applicant for further details, as well as review other sources of information – such as the organisation’s website or annual report.

Customer service is important, and we aim to register organisations entitled to be charities in a timely manner. We ask all applicants to provide feedback on their registration experience. In 2021–22, 91% of respondents were satisfied with their registration experience.

We processed 83% of applications within 15 business days of receiving the required information. This figure was below our performance measure of 90%.

Several factors affected our ability to meet this performance measure, including the integration of deductible gift recipient (DGR) reform work and the onboarding of extra staff to help with new and upcoming work.

In 2021–22, we refused 114 charity registration applications. Of these, 85% were because the applicant did not provide enough information for us to determine eligibility.

In such situations, we make two attempts to gain the required information before refusing the application. The remaining refusals were because applicants were not eligible for charity registration.

We also updated our Commissioner’s Policy Statements on our registration process, our withholding process and our policy on the number of Responsible People in a charity.

We continue to work with other government agencies to ensure that organisations established to address disaster relief and other urgent issues have their charity registration applications processed as a matter of priority.

In 2021–22, 91% of respondents were satisfied with their registration experience.

Deductible gift recipient (DGR) reform

We continued to work on the DGR reforms announced by the Federal Government on 5 December 2017. The reforms aim to help charities strengthen their governance arrangements, reduce administrative complexity and ensure continued trust and confidence in the sector.

As part of these reforms, we review 2% of DGR-endorsed charities each year to assess their continued eligibility for charity registration.

For 2021–22, we reviewed 494 DGR-endorsed charities, exceeding our target of 464 reviews.

These reviews focussed on those charities registered as Public Benevolent Institutions, particularly those registered prior to the ACNC’s establishment.

We continued to contact charities that met our defined risk criteria to allow them to self-assess their registration before any potential ACNC review. And we published guidance to help these charities review their registration.

New laws that came into force on 14 December 2021 required most DGR-endorsed entities to register with the ACNC as a charity. These entities must be registered with the ACNC before 14 December 2022, unless the ATO has approved an extension.

Other announced changes to Australia’s broader DGR system are pending the development of legislation.

Compliance

Receiving and investigating concerns about charities is a key component of our work to maintain and enhance public trust and confidence in the sector.

In 2021–22, we received 2,522 concerns about charities, an increase of 26% compared to the previous year (where we received 2,001 concerns).

One reason for the increase was the 2022 Federal Election. In the lead up to the election we received 490 complaints about charities engaging in advocacy for or against a political party or candidate. This contrasts with 51 such complaints in 2020–21.

In response, we engaged with 19 charities who we identified as being at risk of engaging in advocacy for or against a political party or candidate. We provided these charities with guidance to ensure they understood the distinction between advocating for a party or individual, which might lead to compliance problems, and making comments that aligned with their charitable purpose.

More than 55% of concerns were received from members of the public. Common concerns included individuals obtaining private benefits from charities (24%), disqualifying political purposes (19%) and mismanagement of funds (18%).

Our compliance approach continued to evolve, incorporating best practice to ensure that our data driven, risk based approach remained current and reflected the diversity of the charity sector.

This included embedding new types of regulatory activity in our work to support charities to meet their obligations, or to address possible non‑compliance. Some of the key methods we used to achieve this included:

  • Education – where we provided specific regulatory advice
  • Self-evaluations (introduced in 2021–22) – where we proactively asked a charity to evaluate their compliance against the governance standards
  • Self-audits (introduced in 2020–21) – where we required charities to return a survey that allowed us to conduct a high-level assessment of their compliance and provide advice
  • Reviews (introduced in 2020–21) – where we assessed a charity’s compliance on a particular issue
  • Investigations – where we investigated significant breaches of obligations.

Our risk based approach to compliance weighed up factors including impact, risk and resource implications.

It allowed us to consider which approach would be most beneficial for each charity, while supporting public trust and confidence in the sector. In the past year we introduced a new self-evaluation program, where we recommended to charities that they use our online self-evaluation tools to help them assess if they were meeting their obligations.

In 2021–22, we recommended 316 charities, which had been identified as being at risk of non-compliance, complete a self-evaluation.

We continued to roll-out the self-audit program, finalising 37 cases in 2021–22.

In this program charities were required to provide information about their governance, which we then assessed for compliance with ACNC Governance Standards (and, if applicable, External Conduct Standards).

Typically, after completing each assessment, we provided targeted education to the charity. These assessments also increased our understanding of risk in the sector.

In 20 cases charities identified areas for improvement while undertaking the self-audit. They then told us how they planned to improve their governance. This outcome underscored how important it is for charities to regularly consider whether their governance arrangements are sufficient, as well as the value of ACNC programs that prompt them to do so.

Starting from 2020–21, we received additional government funding to conduct charity compliance reviews focused on specific issues and risks in the sector. In 2021–22, we finalised 55 reviews, exceeding our target of 50.

In the reviews, we looked at charities that:

  • were involved in the 2020 bushfire response
  • had large boards, or
  • provided support to vulnerable children overseas.

As a result, we were able to provide guidance to the sector on these issues, as well as relevant information to the public.

We finalised 96 investigations in 2021–22. These investigations resulted in a range of outcomes, including the revocation of 15 charities’ registration for serious and ongoing non-compliance. We completed 78% of our investigations within 12 months, exceeding our service standard.

When it is relevant, we may disclose protected information to other Australian government agencies. In 2021–22, we referred 41 charities to other government agencies when we thought the other agency may be able to act.

We worked on multiple joint investigations with Commonwealth and state agencies, as well as on an intelligence report with other government agencies which also led to joint investigations.

Risk

In 2021–22, we continued to refine our understanding of risk in the charity sector.

When identifying risk, we commonly look at the following factors:

  • our data driven risk profiles
  • intelligence and insights from other government agencies
  • evaluating thousands of concerns from a range of sources, including the public.

We used our compliance reviews to help us better understand charities’ risk of non-compliance, and we refined our risk-profiling methods based on these reviews.

We chair a quarterly forum with state, territory and Commonwealth regulators to share insights and discuss emerging risks within the sector. We also host forums with international charity regulators on a biannual basis, and continue to work with other government regulators to discuss common risks across the sector.

These stakeholder engagement efforts help us understand the sector from multiple perspectives. We will continue to refine our approach to risk to:

  • ensure we effectively target key issues
  • maximise charities’ voluntary compliance with our obligations
  • effectively target our investigative activities on cases of significant non-compliance.

Annual reporting

Each year, charities must submit an Annual Information Statement (except charities that are also registered with the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC)).

The Annual Information Statement asks for information about a charity’s programs, beneficiaries, human resources and finances. Medium and large charities must provide reviewed or audited annual financial reports with their Annual Information Statement.

Data from Annual Information Statements is used to populate the Charity Register. This ensures the Charity Register contains current information on charities.

Each charity must submit its Annual Information Statement within six months of the end of its reporting period. The 2021 Annual Information Statement was made available online in August 2021.

We extended the due date of 2021 Annual Information Statements for charities operating in flood-affected areas.

In January 2022, charities in the Queensland flood affected area had their due date extended to 30 April 2022. In March 2022, a further extension for charities in Queensland and New South Wales was granted until 30 June 2022.

At 30 June 2022, 68% of charities had submitted their 2021 Annual Information Statement on time. We send multiple reminders to charities to support them to meet their reporting obligations, and continue to work on ways to improve submission rates.

We regularly run a ‘double-defaulter’ process that targets charities that have not submitted two or more Annual Information Statements.

As part of this process, we contact charities and request they submit any outstanding Annual Information Statements within 28 days. Where they fail to do so, we revoke their registration as a charity.

In 2021–22, 815 charities had their registration status revoked for being ‘double-defaulters’.

This process ensures that the Charity Register is up-to-date and helps maintain public trust and confidence in the sector.

Purpose 2: To support and sustain a robust, vibrant, independent and innovative Australian not-for-profit sector

No. Performance measure Annual target Result
2.1

Collect new information about the programs charities conduct, where they are located and who they benefit. Once collected, data is available via data.gov.au and the Charities Report.

  • 2021–22 ATO PBS page 213
  • 2021–22 ACNC Corporate Plan page 10
Searchable program data available (Launch of enhanced Charity Register) Met
2.2

Percentage of time phone calls are answered within 4 minutes.

  • 2021–22 ATO PBS page 213
  • 2021–22 ACNC Corporate Plan page 10
80% Not met - 50%
2.3

Information and guidance materials are reviewed and updated or published for the first time on the ACNC website to assist charities in understanding their obligations.

  • 2021–22 ATO PBS page 213
  • 2021–22 ACNC Corporate Plan page 10
Information and guidance materials reviewed and updated or published for the first time as required. Met
2.4

Information about charities is published.

  • 2021–22 ACNC Corporate Plan page 10
Publication of Australian Charities Report Met
2.5

Number of annual financial reports examined for accuracy.

  • 2021–22 ACNC Corporate Plan page 10
250 Met - 250

Analysis of performance

Publication of charity data

In June 2022, we published the 8th edition of the Australian Charities Report – the annual analysis of the charity sector based on the most current information available on more than 49,000 charities.

The report and the accompanying interactive data tool help illustrate the charity sector’s size, financial contribution and the breadth of its services. They are useful resources for further research and analysis by charities and others interested in the sector.

The 8th edition analysed the impact on charities of the devastating bushfires, as well as the initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these challenging events, the report showed that the charity sector is a resilient one.

For the first time, we analysed the program data provided by charities, identifying common areas of focus across the sector. We also analysed the number of programs conducted online, as well as the number of programs that specifically targeted the environment or animals.

We published the report on our website and promoted it directly to charities and the public through our communication channels. The report contributes to public understanding of the charity sector and promotes public trust and confidence in charities.

We continue to share the data from the Annual Information Statement freely at data.gov.au, along with several other datasets. We now have 12 different datasets available on data.gov.au.

Assisting charities and the public

In 2021–22 we answered 20,449 phone calls and responded to 13,167 written enquiries.

50% of our calls were answered within four minutes. Issues with the telephony and IT systems, staff shortages and staff sickness had a significant impact on our ability to respond to calls.

During 2021–22, we engaged a business analyst to review processes and address system issues that impact service levels and help us prioritise improvements that will have the greatest impact. This work will be finalised in 2022–23.

We also implemented a range of strategies and improvements to streamline our processes with the aim of achieving the best results we could with existing resources.

Guidance and advice

We are committed to developing guidance that is relevant and supports compliance and governance. We consult with relevant experts and stakeholders to develop guidance that meets the diverse needs of the sector.

In 2021–22, we expanded and updated the information we provide to charities, offering a range of educational materials in different formats, including webinars, podcasts, guides and templates.

We published new resources relating to:

  • key management personnel
  • the 2022 Annual Information Statement
  • safeguarding vulnerable children overseas
  • DGR reforms which require most DGR endorsed entities to be registered with the ACNC.

We updated a range of existing resources on topics, including:

  • Basic Religious Charities
  • changes to charity size and reporting thresholds
  • related party transactions
  • External Conduct Standards.

We also updated our Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement on the provision of housing by charities. These statements help inform charities and the public on how we understand the law that applies to charities.

In 2021–22, we started a major project to review other Commissioner’s Interpretation Statements, beginning with the Commissioner’s Interpretation Statements on Public Benevolent Institutions and Health Promotion Charities.

In 2021–22, we produced and broadcast seven webinars:

  • The Pandemic: Its impact on people, and what we can do – we focused on the pandemic’s impact on the people involved in the charity sector. This webinar was co‑presented with the Xfactor Collective.
  • Welcoming new Responsible People to your charity – we highlighted the vital role that Responsible People have in a charity’s governance.
  • Protecting your charity against fraud – we examined charity fraud and practical ways that a charity could guard against fraud.
  • Changes to charity sizes and reporting thresholds – we explained new charity reporting thresholds that will apply from the 2022 Annual Information Statement.
  • Protecting young people and vulnerable beneficiaries – we looked at how these responsibilities relate to the ACNC Governance Standards and External Conduct Standards and provided practical tips for charities.
  • Getting the most out of the enhanced ACNC Charity Register – we showcased the Register’s new features and explained how charities can get the most out of these enhancements.
  • Changes in reporting to the ACNC – Key management personnel and related party transactions – we examined other reporting changes that will apply from the 2022 Annual Information Statement.

Our webinars and their transcripts are published on our website.

In 2021–22, we published three podcast episodes:

  • Exploring innovation with Red Cross Australia – a discussion with Red Cross Australia about innovation in the charity sector.
  • The benefits of the enhanced Charity Register – a conversation with the ACNC Commissioner about the improvements to the Charity Register and the benefits that this will bring to the charity sector and beyond.
  • Recognising the importance of volunteers – a dialogue with Volunteering Australia about the important role that volunteers play in our communities, followed by a discussion with the ACNC Commissioner about how the Charity Register can help facilitate connections between volunteers and charities.
Communicating with charities and the public – stakeholder engagement

Australian charities make a valuable contribution to our communities and their work reaches into every corner of our lives. To help them carry out this important work, charities need a regulator that listens, understands and communicates appropriately.

We consult with the sector to ensure that we understand different points of view and are equipped to make informed decisions about how we will meet our objects. In line with our Stakeholder Engagement Framework, we continue to develop new ways to listen to the sector.

The ACNC relies on two forums to seek views on charity regulation and insights into emerging issues that affect the sector:

  • the Adviser Forum – which comprises professional advisers to charities such as legal and accounting professionals and
  • the Sector Forum – which comprises representatives from registered charities.

The Adviser and Sector forums also provide feedback on the policies, guidance and tools we develop for charities.

In 2021–22, we convened the Adviser and Sector forums twice, as well as hosting a combined Regulators Day. Minutes of these meetings are published on our website. We also sought new members for the Adviser and Sector Forums to ensure that we could gain insights from new voices.

In addition, we launched a new initiative – the Consultation Panel. The Consultation Panel is open to representatives of charities, advisers to the charity sector and people with relevant experience in the sector.

The panel will improve our regulation of the charity sector by providing feedback on new or proposed guidance, forms or policies.

As part of our outreach, we also made a significant effort to meet directly with charities, sector representatives or peak bodies.

In 2021–22, our Executive and senior leadership team had 41 speaking engagements and attended 178 meetings with charities, sector representatives or peak bodies (6 of which were in the United Kingdom and Ireland).

News and media

In 2021–22, we published 51 news articles on the ACNC website and sent out 12 editions of our e-newsletter, The Charitable Purpose (TCP), to highlight key issues or changes that affect the charity sector.

Each edition of TCP includes a substantial Commissioner’s Column that elaborates on an issue of concern for charities. The newsletter is sent to all registered charities and over 12,000 subscribers.

We responded to 217 media enquiries and the ACNC received nearly 2,900 media mentions.

Stories that attracted the most interest included charity activity during the federal election campaign, scams awareness and the launch of the enhanced Charity Register.

Charity Register

In 2021–22, we launched an enhanced version of the ACNC Charity Register. The enhancements enable the public to easily find charities based on the type of work they are doing, and their location.

We believe the enhancements help the public to find causes close to their hearts.

During 2021–22, there were more than 5.6 million searches of the Charity Register – a 31% increase on the previous year. This reflects the importance of the Charity Register as both a source of information and a tool the public use to verify registered charities.

Examining financial reports for accuracy

To ensure the integrity of the information on the Charity Register, we reviewed 250 annual financial reports (from the 2020 reporting period) in 2021–22. These reviews focused on:

  • the accuracy of the financial information provided
  • the quality of information disclosed
  • overall compliance with the ACNC Act and Australian Accounting Standards.

We also reviewed the types of disclosures made by charities in the annual financial report to help us identify instances of best practice.

When we found material errors in a charity’s annual financial report, we contacted the charity to help them to rectify the errors.

In June 2022, we published a report: Reviewing Charities’ Financial Information and Annual Financial Reports – 2020. This report included details of trends we had observed, as well as new observations.

We will continue to analyse annual financial reports to ensure compliance with ACNC reporting requirements. We will also use our findings to update our guidance and our annual financial report checklist, both of which are key tools used by charities to learn more about the obligations they must meet.

Purpose 3: Promote the reduction of unnecessary regulatory obligations on the Australian not-for-profit sector

No. Performance measure Annual target Result
3.1

Reduce unnecessary regulation for charities by simplifying and streamlining reporting

  • 2021–22 ATO PBS page 213
  • 2021–22 ACNC Corporate Plan page 11
The Regulator Performance Framework demonstrates a reduction in unnecessary regulation for charities Met
Analysis of performance

Throughout the year, we worked across government to reduce unnecessary regulation for charities.

Highlights for 2021–22 included:

  • the removal of duplicated reporting requirements for charities that are fundraisers in New South Wales
  • a streamlined application process for charities that fundraise in New South Wales, and
  • working closely with the ATO on DGR reform initiatives.

We made 17 submissions to government on a range of matters related to the charity sector.

We worked closely with a number of government departments and agencies to implement the recommendations of the Cross-border recognition model for charitable fundraisers.

Under this model, all charities registered by the ACNC could be deemed to hold a local fundraising authority in each participating jurisdiction.

We also worked closely with the AASB on their development of the not-for-profit financial reporting framework. The aim of the framework is to provide simple, proportionate, consistent, transparent and cost-effective reporting for all charities and not-for-profits.

As a charity regulator, we used our insights and experience to make numerous submissions to the AASB. We are also part of the AASB’s Not-forprofit Project Advisory Panel and will continue to work with the AASB to ensure that the new financial reporting framework minimises unnecessary regulatory burden.

During the year, the Government replaced the Regulator Performance Framework with the Regulator Performance Guide.

In future years, we intend to report our progress on three key principles of best practice that help us deliver on our objects:

  • Continuous improvement and building trust – we adopt a whole-of-system perspective, continuously improving our performance, capability and culture to build trust and confidence in Australia’s regulatory settings
  • Risk based and data driven – we manage risks proportionately and maintain essential safeguards, while minimising regulatory burden and leveraging data and digital technology to support those we regulate to comply and grow
  • Collaboration and engagement – we are transparent and responsive communicators, implementing regulations in a modern and collaborative way.

As a demonstration of our commitment to continuous improvement, we asked our stakeholders to assess how we performed against these principles in 2021–22. This helped us to establish a baseline for comparison in future years and helped us identify future performance measures we can examine.

Of the 18 respondents:

  • 94 per cent agreed (or strongly agreed) that we had engaged in continuous improvement during the year
  • 56 per cent agreed (or strongly agreed) that we were risk based and data driven
  • 89 per cent agreed (or strongly agreed) that we were transparent and responsive communicators.

External scrutiny

In 2021–22, we appeared with the Treasury before three Senate Estimates hearings of the Senate Standing Committee on Economics.

We responded to 10 questions on notice.

Under Part II of the FOI Act, we are required to publish information as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS).

Each agency must display on its website a plan showing the information it publishes in accordance with the IPS requirements. The ACNC publishes this information at: acnc.gov.au/ips

In 2021–22, we responded to 28 FOI requests.

We conduct an internal review of a decision if an affected applicant submits an ‘objection’. The internal review is conducted by a different person to the one who made the original decision.

This is known as an ‘objection decision’ under the ACNC Act.

If a charity is dissatisfied with our objection decision, it can apply for a review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

In 2021–22, four applications were made to the AAT for a review of a decision. Two of those applications are ongoing, while two were withdrawn by the relevant applicant.

In 2021–22, the AAT handed down three decisions where the Commissioner of the ACNC was a party. The AAT decided in favour of the ACNC in two of those decisions.

If a charity is dissatisfied with an AAT decision, it can appeal to the Federal Court of Australia on questions of law. A charity can also appeal objection decisions directly to the Federal Court.

In 2021–22, no applications (in which the ACNC was a party) were made to the Federal Court. Further, no decisions were made by the Federal Court.

In 2019–20, the ACNC received the Auditor General’s Report No.29: Regulation of Charities by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

In 2021–22, we provided the ANAO with a final summary of the progress we made against the report’s recommendations.

Corporate governance

The Commissioner

The ACNC Commissioner is a statutory office holder. The Hon Dr Gary Johns held the role of Commissioner from 1 December 2017 to 31 July 2022.

The ACNC Act (Part 5-2) provides for the establishment of the Commissioner’s position, functions and powers, including terms and conditions of appointment.

Internal governance and risk management

Our governance framework provides for effective governance and risk management, informed decision-making, and professional performance accountability.

Our internal governance practices ensure we meet the principles and requirements of the PGPA Act.

The ACNC is not a Commonwealth entity for the purposes of the Commonwealth Resources Management Framework and the PGPA Act. The Commissioner of Taxation is the Accountable Authority for the ACNC. Further information is available in the ATO’s annual report.

Risk management is built into our practices as an essential component of sound management and good corporate governance. Our Enterprise Risk Management Framework and guidelines are based on the ATO Enterprise Risk Management Framework. They align with the ATO’s Risk Management Policy.

Our Commissioner sets the ACNC’s direction and priorities, which are outlined in the ACNC corporate plan and evaluated in our annual performance statements.

The ACNC comprises six directorates as well as the Executive. Each directorate has quality assurance processes in place.

In 2021–22, we attended the ATO Audit and Risk Committee meeting six times. The ACNC held an Audit and Risk Committee meeting four times in 2021–22.

The ATO’s annual report includes information on the following:

  • Audit and Risk committee as required by section 17AG (2A) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule)
  • Fraud prevention as required by section 10 of the PGPA Rule.

Ecologically sustainable development and environment performance

Our facilities and some of our assets are provided by the ATO under various agreements. We adopt the ATO’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy. Further information is included in the ATO’s annual report.

Financial management

For the purposes of the PGPA Act, the ACNC is listed as a program of the ATO.

Division 125 of the ACNC Act established an ACNC Special Account, which is an appropriation mechanism that sets aside an amount within the Consolidated Revenue Fund to be expended for the purposes of the ACNC Act.

The balance of the Special Account does not lapse at the end of the annual appropriation period.

The ACNC Special Account is administered in accordance with the Department of Finance guidelines.

The ATO assists us by providing financial and taxation management services through a memorandum of understanding.

We manage our financial affairs within the Department of Finance guidelines and ATO protocols.

Our appropriation in 2021-22 was $18.7 million. Our operating expenditure in 2021–22 was $17.1 million.

Table 5.1 sets out our expenditure by our cost centres. The ATO prepares annual financial statements in accordance with subsection 43(4) of the PGPA Act, which includes our financial information.

Table 5.1: Direct expenditure by cost centre 2021–22
Cost Centre Staff costs ($'000) Supplier costs ($'000) Total ($'000)
Executive 824 43 867
Advisory Board 15 117 132
Registration 2,684 47 2,695
Corporate Services 235 1,501 1,736
Education and Public Affairs 749 202 951
Advice Services 1,572 101 1,673
Information Technology 529 2,096 2,625
Reporting and Red Tape Reduction 801 1 802
Compliance (includes Compliance Review Program)* 2,221 123 2,344
Legal and Policy 699 28 727
Deductible Gift Recipient Reform 1,757 551 2,308
Litigation 0 203 203
Modernising Business Register 12 0 12
Total 12,061 5,015 17,076

* The Compliance Review cost centre was only created in May 2022. For the purposes of transparency, we have combined the Compliance and Compliance Review cost centres for 2021–22. From 2022–23, these two cost centres will be reported separately

Significant non-compliance with financial law

In 2021-22 there were no significant instances of non-compliance to report.

Asset management

We have our own appropriation which provides financial transparency. Our assets are managed in accordance with the ATO’s policies and are reported in the ATO’s financial statements.

Purchasing and consultancies

We make decisions regarding our budget independently of the ATO. We purchase the goods and services required to support our operations using the ATO’s procurement policies and processes, in line with the requirements of the PGPA Act. This includes consultancies, contractors, travel, information technology, legal and advertising. The ATO includes the procurement details in its annual report.

Procurement initiatives to support small business

We follow ATO policies and procedures when it comes to supporting small business. Our approach is outlined in the ATO’s annual report.

Grants

In 2021–22 we did not award any grants.

Advertising

In 2021–22 we did not conduct any advertising campaigns.

Our people

We are a national regulator based in Melbourne.

We are proud of the expertise and contribution of our diverse workforce, which has helped us deliver quality services to the charity sector and the Australian public.

While the ACNC is the independent regulator of charities in Australia, staff are engaged as ATO employees. The ATO’s annual report has the full suite of staff statistics.

Table 6.1: Headcount by classification level and gender as of 30 June 2022
Classification Female Male X Total
APS3 1 1
APS4 11 8 19
APS5 20 5 25
APS6 20 17 1 38
EL1 16 14 1 31
EL2 3 3 6
SES1 1 1
COMM 1 1
Total 72 48 2 122
Table 6.2: Headcount by employee type and gender as at 30 June 2022
Employee type Female Male X Headcount
Statutory appointee - 1 - 1
Ongoing full-time 45 34 - 79
Ongoing part-time 14 4 1 19
Non-ongoing full-time 8 7 1 16
Non-ongoing part-time - - - -
Secondment from ATO full-time 5 2 - 7
Secondment from ATO part-time - - - -
Total 72 48 2 122

Diversity and inclusion

We believe that a diverse and inclusive workforce improves the experience of staff and enhances our interactions with the charity sector. Having a diverse workforce builds organisational capability by promoting equity and bringing diversity of approach to the way we work, leading to greater creativity, improved productivity, and better outcomes.

The effect of creating a workplace that champions belonging allows us to make a real difference in the lives of Australians through our enhanced ability to support and regulate the charity sector.

We continue to strive to be a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Australian Public Service. This commitment is represented by all our employees, and collectively we are ethical, respectful, and supportive.

We support an inclusive work environment through our practices, which includes a focus on:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • employees living with disability
  • gender equality
  • cultural and linguistic diversity
  • lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI+) staff
  • mature-age people.

We are continually evolving in how we approach inclusion and continue to develop ways to include more diverse voices. We require our managers and employees to report bullying, harassment and discrimination and are confident in their ability to identify and report inappropriate behaviour.

We use and support the ATO’s 2024 Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and commit to creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

Indigenous staff

We support and follow the ATO’s Reconciliation Action Plan 2021–24, which includes activities to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and suppliers.

Our activities also included supporting NAIDOC and National Reconciliation weeks, engaging more Indigenous identifying staff members, and ensuring inclusion to meaningfully impact the culture of our agency.

We aim to always maintain a minimum of two Aboriginal Liaison Officer positions. As stated in our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities Engagement Strategy Action Plan, we endeavour to achieve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staffing levels that reflect the proportion of registered charities that are Indigenous-controlled (approximately 5%).

We have increased the number of Indigenous Australians working with the ACNC in 2021–22. As at 30 June 2022, we had five ongoing staff members that identify as Indigenous Australians, comprising 4% of our staff.

Through partnering with the ATO, we have maintained our ability to deliver a tailored service to this community and reinforced a workplace culture that understands and values the contribution of Indigenous Australians. Our Aboriginal Liaison Officers work closely with ORIC to ensure Indigenous Corporation data on the Charity Register is kept up-to-date.

Staff with a disability

Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021–2031 is the overarching framework for inclusive policies, programs and infrastructure that will support people with disability to participate in all areas of Australian life. This, in tandem with the Australian Public Service Disability Employment Strategy 2020–2025 provide frameworks for better policies, programs, and services for all Australians.

We are committed to these strategies, supporting our staff who identify as having a disability or neurodiversity by providing equitable reasonable adjustments to help them achieve their best at work. We are underrepresented in this space and continue to encourage supportive recruitment activities in line with the APSC’s RecruitAbility scheme.

We support and use the ATO 2024 Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. Further information is available in the ATO’s annual report.

LGBTQI+ staff

7% of our staff identify as part of the LGBTQI+ community and we have several gender diverse staff members. We recognise our staff members within these communities and those with loved ones in these communities through celebrating the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia, Pride month, International Non-Binary People’s Day, and Wear it Purple Day.

Separation and recruitment

In 2021–22 our staff retention rate was 80.5%. Almost half of staff leaving the ACNC in fact returned to new roles with the ATO or took up new roles with the ATO. This meant that these staff were continuing their careers within the Australian Public Service.

Hybrid working environment

The ACNC supports a hybrid working model, providing staff the flexibility to work in the office at least 40% of the time, while up to 60% of the time they can work from home. Our HR team have created and continue to maintain clear and transparent practices to enhance flexibility and productivity while ensuring our staff remain safe and follow government health guidelines.

We embrace this hybrid model, promoting the benefits of both working from home and on site and encouraging staff to find and share efficiencies discovered in both environments. This has supported our productivity goals while strengthening our internal relationships and networks to effectively work across directorates. We will continue to adapt and remain flexible as the external environment changes.

Reward and recognition

Our reward and recognition program is an integral part of our retention activities, while we also encourage on-the-spot recognition for staff in meetings and other opportunities. These include ‘employee of the moment’ recognition and ‘thank you’ cards.

Our program is intended to positively influence employees by highlighting exceptional performance and providing a goal for staff to aspire toward.

Learning and Development

In 2021–22 our learning and development focus was mental health awareness and support, with staff attending training sessions on managing anxiety around returning to the office, a session for managers on supporting this transition, and adjusting to a hybrid model of working – all of which were tailored to the ACNC’s specific situation. Our leadership have carried this training into their day-to-day interactions with staff and have supported the ACNC through this past year’s uncertainty.

All ACNC staff have access to the ATO’s suite of learning and development courses. We have also provided our staff with a range of targeted training, including courses on diversity and inclusion, Certificate IV in Government Investigations and attending specialist area conferences, in addition to formal learning identified for individual development needs.

In addition, our Higher Value Education Program provides financial support for accredited training.

Policies and procedures

As ATO employees, ACNC staff are bound by ATO corporate policies, procedures and instructions, unless ACNC staff have been deemed explicitly exempt. In some situations, we may develop our own corporate policies or procedures to better manage our risks and reflect our jurisdiction and operating conditions.

In 2021–22, we revised our Conflict of Interests Policy and developed a Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy.

Enterprise agreement

The ACNC operates under the ATO Enterprise Agreement 2017, which complies with the APS-bargaining framework. It aims to promote efficiency and effectiveness, to contribute to achieving the organisation’s policy and program outcomes, and to enhance the quality of employees’ work-life balance.

ACNC salaries are covered by the ATO Determination 2019. Salary figures are available in the ATO’s annual report.

Work health and safety

Work health and safety is a priority. During the pandemic, the ACNC followed all public health orders and ATO advice to ensure the safety of ACNC staff.

The ATO has several obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) and the ATO Enterprise Agreement 2017. These obligations are included in the ATO’s annual report.

Executive remuneration

The ACNC Commissioner’s remuneration is determined by the Australian Government Remuneration Tribunal.

The PGPA Rule about executive remuneration has been amended to improve the transparency of Commonwealth executive remuneration arrangements in annual reports.

For the purposes of the PGPA Act, the ACNC is listed as a program of the ATO. However, the ACNC Commissioner is not included in the ATO’s annual report. For completeness of information and greater transparency, the ACNC Commissioner’s remuneration for 2021-22 was $332,550.

Other ACNC Executive remuneration arrangements adhere to the ATO’s Senior Executive Service guidelines and are set out in the ATO’s annual report.

ACNC Advisory Board member remuneration

The ACNC’s Advisory Board members are appointed by the Treasurer, and their remuneration is also determined by the Australian Government Remuneration Tribunal. Information about their remuneration can be found at remtribunal.gov.au

Appendices

This table sets out what non-corporate Commonwealth entities are required to include in their annual reports for the 2021–22 reporting period. Page references show where this report meets the requirements and are provided for easy reader access.

The ACNC is not a non-corporate Commonwealth entity and the Commissioner of Taxation is its Accountable Authority. Wherever possible we adhere to the following requirements:

*Note: the page number is for the PDF version of our Annual Report, which you can download from this page.

PGPA Rule Reference Part of Report Description Requirement Page number
17AD(g) Letter of transmittal
17AI A copy of the letter of transmittal signed and dated by accountable authority on date final text approved, with statement that the report has been prepared in accordance with section 46 of the Act and any enabling legislation that specifies additional requirements in relation to the annual report Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
17AD(h) Aids to access
17AJ(a) Table of contents Mandatory iv–v
17AJ(b) Alphabetical index Mandatory 66–69
17AJ(c) Glossary of abbreviations and acronyms Mandatory 64–65
17AJ(d) List of requirements Mandatory 56–63
17AJ(e) Details of contact officer Mandatory ii
17AJ(f) Entity’s website address Mandatory ii
17AJ(g) Electronic address of report Mandatory ii
17AD(a) Review by accountable authority
17AD(a) A review by the accountable authority of the entity Mandatory 2–3
17A(b) Overview of the entity
17AE(1)(a)(i) A description of the role and functions of the entity Mandatory 8–9
17AE(1)(a)(ii) A description of the organisational structure of the entity Mandatory 12–13
17AE(1)(a)(iii) A description of the outcomes and programmes administered by the entity Mandatory 20
17AE(1)(a)(iv) A description of the purposes of the entity as included in corporate plan Mandatory 20
17AE(1)(aa)(i) Name of the accountable authority or each member of the accountable authority Mandatory Included in the ATO’s annual report
17AE(1)(aa)(ii) Position title of the accountable authority or each member of the accountable authority Mandatory Included in the ATO’s annual report
17AE(1)(aa)(iii) Period as the accountable authority or member of the accountable authority within the reporting period Mandatory Included in the ATO’s annual report
17AE(1)(b) An outline of the structure of the portfolio of the entity Mandatory for Portfolio departments N/A
17AE(2) Where the outcomes and programs administered by the entity differ from any Portfolio Budget Statement, Portfolio Additional Estimates Statement or other portfolio estimates statement that was prepared for the entity for the period, include details of variation and reasons for change If applicable, mandatory N/A
17AD(c) Report on the performance of the entity
Annual Performance Statements
17AD(c)(i);16F Annual performance statement in accordance with paragraph 39(1)(b) of the Act and section 16F of the Rule Mandatory 21–42
17AD(c)(ii) Report on financial performance
17AF(1)(a) A discussion and analysis of the entity’s financial performance Mandatory 46–47
17AF(1)(b) A table summarising the total resources and total payments of the entity Mandatory 47
17AF(2) If there may be significant changes in the financial results during or after the previous or current reporting period, information on those changes, including: the cause of any operating loss of the entity; how the entity has responded to the loss and the actions that have been taken in relation to the loss; and any matter or circumstances that it can reasonably be anticipated will have a significant impact on the entity’s future operation or financial results If applicable, mandatory. N/A
17AD(d) Management and accountability
Corporate governance
17AG(2)(a) Information on compliance with section 10 (fraud systems) Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
17AG(2)(b)(i) A certification by accountable authority that fraud risk assessments and fraud control plans have been prepared Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
17AG(2)(b)(ii) A certification by accountable authority that appropriate mechanisms for preventing, detecting incidents of, investigating or otherwise dealing with, and recording or reporting fraud that meet the specific needs of the entity are in place Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
17AG(2)(b)(iii) A certification by accountable authority that all reasonable measures have been taken to deal appropriately with fraud relating to the entity Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
17AG(2)(c) An outline of structures and processes in place for the entity to implement principles and objectives of corporate governance Mandatory 46
17AG(2)(d) – (e) A statement of significant issues reported to Minister under paragraph 19(1)(e) of the Act that relates to non compliance with Finance law and action taken to remedy non compliance If applicable, mandatory N/A
Audit Committee
17AG(2A)(a) A direct electronic address of the charter determining the functions of the entity’s audit committee Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
17AG(2A)(b) The name of each member of the entity’s audit committee Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
17AG(2A)(c) The qualifications, knowledge, skills or experience of each member of the entity’s audit committee Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
17AG(2A)(d) Information about the attendance of each member of the entity’s audit committee at committee meetings Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
17AG(2A)(e) The remuneration of each member of the entity’s audit committee Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
External scrutiny
17AG(3) Information on the most significant developments in external scrutiny and the entity’s response to the scrutiny Mandatory 44
17AG(3)(a) Information on judicial decisions and decisions of administrative tribunals and by the Australian Information Commissioner that may have a significant effect on the operations of the entity If applicable, mandatory 44
17AG(3)(b) Information on any reports on operations of the entity by the Auditor General (other than report under section 43 of the Act), a Parliamentary Committee, or the Commonwealth Ombudsman If applicable, mandatory 44
17AG(3)(c) Information on any capability reviews on the entity that were released during the period If applicable, mandatory N/A
Management of human resources
17AG(4)(a) An assessment of the entity’s effectiveness in managing and developing employees to achieve entity objectives Mandatory 50–53
17AG(4)(aa)

Statistics on the entity’s employees on an ongoing and non-ongoing basis, including the following:
a. statistics on full-time employees;
b. statistics on part-time employees;
c. statistics on gender;
d. statistics on staff location

Mandatory 50
17AG(4)(b) Statistics on the entity’s APS employees on an ongoing and non-ongoing basis; including the following:
e. statistics on staffing classification level;
f. statistics on fulltime employees;
g. statistics on part-time employees;
h. statistics on gender;
i. statistics on staff location;
j. statistics on employees who identify as Indigenous
Mandatory 50–51
17AG(4)(c) Information on any enterprise agreements, individual flexibility arrangements, Australian workplace agreements, common law contracts and determinations under subsection 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999 Mandatory 53
17AG(4)(c)(i) Information on the number of SES and non-SES employees covered by agreements etc. identified in paragraph 17AG(4)(c) Mandatory 54
17AG(4)(c)(ii) The salary ranges available for APS employees by classification level Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
17AG(4)(c)(iii) A description of non-salary benefits provided to employees Mandatory 53
17AG(4)(d)(i) Information on the number of employees at each classification level who received performance pay If applicable, mandatory N/A
17AG(4)(d)(ii) Information on aggregate amounts of performance pay at each classification level If applicable, mandatory N/A
17AG(4)(d)(iii) Information on the average amount of performance payment, and range of such payments, at each classification level If applicable, mandatory N/A
17AG(4)(d)(iv) Information on aggregate amount of performance payments If applicable, mandatory N/A
Assets management
17AG(5) An assessment of effectiveness of assets management where asset management is a significant part of the entity’s activities If applicable, mandatory N/A
Purchasing
17AG(6) An assessment of entity performance against the Commonwealth Procurement Rules Mandatory 48
Reportable consultancy contracts
17AG(7)(a) A summary statement detailing the number of new reportable consultancy contracts entered into during the period; the total actual expenditure on all such contracts (inclusive of GST); the number of ongoing reportable consultancy contracts that were entered into during a previous reporting period; and the total actual expenditure in the reporting period on those ongoing contracts (inclusive of GST) Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
17AG(7)(b) A statement that “During [reporting period], [specified number] new reportable consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual expenditure of $[specified million]. In addition, [specified number] ongoing reportable consultancy contracts were active during the period, involving total actual expenditure of $[specified million]” Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
17AG(7)(c) A summary of the policies and procedures for selecting and engaging consultants and the main categories of purposes for which consultants were selected and engaged Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
17AG(7)(d) A statement that “Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on reportable consultancy contracts. Information on the value of reportable consultancy contracts is available on the Aust ender website.” Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
Reportable non-consultancy contracts
17AG(7A)(a) A summary statement detailing the number of new reportable non-consultancy contracts entered into during the period; the total actual expenditure on such contracts (inclusive of GST); the number of ongoing reportable non-consultancy contracts that were entered into during a previous reporting period; and the total actual expenditure in the reporting period on those ongoing contracts (inclusive of GST) Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
17AG(7A)(b) A statement that “Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on reportable non-consultancy contracts. Information on the value of reportable non-consultancy contracts is available on the AusTender website.” Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
17AD(daa) Additional information about organisations receiving amounts under reportable consultancy contracts or reportable non consultancy contracts
17AGA Additional information, in accordance with section 17AGA, about organisations receiving amounts under reportable consultancy contracts or reportable non-consultancy contracts Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
Australian National Audit Office access clauses
17AG(8) If an entity entered into a contract with a value of more than $100,000 (inclusive of GST) and the contract did not provide the Auditor General with access to the contractor’s premises, the report must include the name of the contractor, purpose and value of the contract, and the reason why a clause allowing access was not included in the contract If applicable, mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
Exempt contracts
17AG(9) If an entity entered into a contract or there is a standing offer with a value greater than $10,000 (inclusive of GST) which has been exempted from being published in AusTender because it would disclose exempt matters under the FOI Act, the annual report must include a statement that the contract or standing offer has been exempted, and the value of the contract or standing offer, to the extent that doing so does not disclose the exempt matters If applicable, mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
Small business
17AG(10)(a) A statement that “[Name of entity] supports small business participation in the Commonwealth Government procurement market. Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and Small Enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance’s website.” Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
17AG(10)(b) An outline of the ways in which the procurement practices of the entity support small and medium enterprises Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
17AG(10)(c) If the entity is considered by the Department administered by the Finance Minister as material in nature—a statement that “[Name of entity] recognises the importance of ensuring that small businesses are paid on time. The results of the Survey of Australian Government Payments to Small Business are available on the Treasury’s website.” If applicable, mandatory N/A
Financial statements
17AD(e) Inclusion of the annual financial statements in accordance with subsection 43(4) of the Act Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
Executive remuneration
17AD(da) Information about executive remuneration in accordance with Subdivision C of Division 3A of Part 2 3 of the Rule Mandatory 54
17AD(f) Other mandatory information
17AH(1)(a)(i) If the entity conducted advertising campaigns, a statement that “During [reporting period], the [name of entity] conducted the following advertising campaigns: [name of advertising campaigns undertaken]. Further information on those advertising campaigns is available at [address of entity’s website] and in the reports on Australian Government advertising prepared by the Department of Finance. Those reports are available on the Department of Finance’s website.” If applicable, mandatory N/A
17AH(1)(a)(ii) If the entity did not conduct advertising campaigns, a statement to that effect If applicable, mandatory 48
17AH(1)(b) A statement that “Information on grants awarded by [name of entity] during [reporting period] is available at [address of entity’s website].” If applicable, mandatory N/A
17AH(1)(c) Outline of mechanisms of disability reporting, including reference to website for further information Mandatory Included in the ATO’s Annual Report
17AH(1)(d) Website reference to where the entity’s Information Publication Scheme statement pursuant to Part II of FOI Act can be found Mandatory 44
17AH(1)(e) Correction of material errors in previous annual report If applicable, mandatory N/A
17AH(2) Information required by other legislation Mandatory N/A

AAT Administrative Appeals Tribunal
AC Companion of the Order of Australia
ACNC Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission
ACNC Act Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission Act 2012 (Cth)
Annual Information Statement The annual statement that registered charities are required to provide to the ACNC.
APS Australian Public Service
ASIC The Australian Securities and Investments Commission
ATO Australian Taxation Office
AASB Australian Accounting Standards Board
Board ACNC Advisory Board
Charity An entity defined in section 5 of the Charities Act. Broadly speaking, a not-for-profit entity that has charitable purposes for the public benefit, that does not have any disqualifying purposes and that is not an individual, political party or a government entity (see also Registered charity).
Charities Act Charities Act 2013 (Cth)
Charity Passport A mechanism by which the ACNC shares publicly available charity information with other government agencies. An integral part of the ACNC’s ‘report once, use often’ approach to reporting.
Charity Portal An online portal in which charities update details and submit reports and information to the ACNC.
Charity Register A freely available online public database of information about the charities registered with the ACNC.
CP Corporate Policy
Dr Doctor
FTE Full-time equivalent staff number
FOI Freedom of information
FOI Act Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth)
IPS Information Publication Scheme
Hon The Honourable
IT Information technology
MP A member of parliament
MOU Memorandum/a of Understanding
NFP Not-for-profit
PBS Portfolio Budget Statements
PGPA Act Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth)
Registered charity A charity registered with the ACNC. Referred to in this report in context as a ‘charity’
SES Senior Executive Service