A new national body, the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Commission (ACNC) will be established to deal with Not-For-Profit agencies and charities. This is as a result of a recommendation by the Productivity Commission, under the leadership of Robert Fitzgerald.
There are 600,000 Not-For-Profit agencies in Australia of which 440,000 are small unincorporated associations.
There are 60,000 charities in Australia, of these there are 30,000 non-incorporated which have never reported to anyone.
The ACNC will operate from 1st October and at the start will only work with charities.
Its role will be to:
- Determine and regulate charities
- Administer the statutory definition of charities
- Promote good governance
- Ensure compliance with charitable laws
- Provide a public information portal on the internet to which charities make financial and activity-related reports
Examples of this kind of portal can be found in the websites of the Charities Commission of England and Wales and equivalents in NZ and Singapore. There will be a new statutory definition of a charity. This must show a public benefit.
What happens from October 1st? If you are an established charity, nothing. Gethsemane has already been contacted to ask if we are still doing what we were set up to do. As we were, we did not have to reply.
After October 1st, as a small charity (turnover less than $250,000). Gethsemane will be asked to submit an activity statement. This would be last year’s purpose and who benefits. Medium and large charities add plans for next year. We include basic financial information and can submit audited accounts if we have them.
From 1st July 2013, there will be an online portal available, this aims for transparency allowing anyone to access it, which means:
- Charities have to be up to date with their information and submit annual information statements online
- The public can search the portal for charity details such as governance structures, purposes and activities
This portal is meant to be a one-stop-shop. Charities should have to report only once. Once the States are on board, information will be passed to State agencies. It will lead to a simplification of regulatory and taxation requirements. There will be a single national regulator.