ACNC Here To Stay
On Friday 4 March 2016 Minister for Social Services Christian Porter and Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer announced that the Australian Charities and Not- for- profits Commission (ACNC) will be retained. This announcement has been long awaited as the former Minister for Social Services, Robert Andrews, had publicly declared that the ACNC would be disbanded. The ministerial media release stated that retention of ACNC will “strike the right balance between having effective public accountability and cutting red tape”. It emphasized that the future focus of ACNC is to be more effective in helping charities improve governance and the ministers committed the government to working with ACNC to remove duplication and increase accountability and transparency.
This announcement coincides with more efforts by ACNC and State Government Fair Trading Ministers to harmonise fundraising regulations. South Australia (SA) has already passed legislation which alleviates the need for an SA charity to report separately to Fair Trading SA if it has already reported to ACNC. ACT is closely following SA. There is current discussion with all States and Territories concerning adoption of a common definition of “charity” but final agreement on that seems some way off. Any reluctance which the States may have shown concerning the harmonisation projects initiated by ACNC should now disappear with the future of the ACNC guaranteed.