Commissioner’s Column – 5 April 2017

Susan Pascoe, Our Commissioner

This week my thoughts are with those in Queensland who are recovering from the impacts of Cyclone Debbie and those dealing with the aftermath of the flooding throughout QLD and northern NSW.  Once again during a natural disaster, thousands of volunteers have rallied to help individuals and communities in crisis.  We are all indebted to the many volunteers who put in to help others.

Australians are renowned for their generosity; in fact, the World Giving Index rates us as the third most giving country in the world. We are particularly generous in response to natural disasters, often donating our time, money and vital household items.

I’d like to take this opportunity to remind people to consider their donations carefully, and give to established local charities who are ready to assist.

The best way to check if a charity is registered is to search the Charity Register at acnc.gov.au/findacharity.

Red tape reduction proposal for ACT

The ACNC has been engaged in discussions with officials across Commonwealth and state and territory governments to reduce red tape for registered charities. In 2016, significant progress was made through legislative changes in both Tasmania and South Australia.

I am pleased to announce that the ACT Government is also proposing regulatory reform to remove duplicate reporting for the ACT’s incorporated associations and charitable fundraisers registered with the ACNC.

Legislation is currently before the Legislative Assembly in the ACT that  will reduce red tape for hundreds of registered charities.

You can read more about the proposed changes for charities on the ACT Government website.

590 double defaulters revoked

In February 2017, I announced that more than 1,300 charities were at risk of losing their charity status for failing to submit two Annual Information Statements. We contacted this group and encouraged them to submit their outstanding reports and avoid revocation.

More than 700 charities heeded this warning, submitted their outstanding reports and will remain registered.

The remaining 590 charities did not submit their Annual Information Statements and have had their charity status revoked. They are no longer registered charities, will lose their entitlement to access generous Commonwealth tax concessions, and will no longer have the right to display the ACNC’s Registered Charity Tick.

Australian Charities Report 2015: free webinar 18 April

Our upcoming free webinar on Tuesday 18 April is a great opportunity to have an in-depth look at the findings and data from the Australian Charities Report 2015, released in December last year.

We will be joined by the researchers from the Centre for Social Impact at the University of New South Wales to explore the report and share some key insights into the charity sector.

To learn more, or register for the event, visit acnc.gov.au/webinars.

You can also view the full report, summary reports, and interactive data cube, at australiancharities.acnc.gov.au.

Upcoming webinars: full 2017 schedule announced

If you would like to participate in  our webinars, our full schedule of events for the remainder of 2017 is also available at acnc.gov.au/webinars.

Registrations are now open for each session.

If you would like to suggest topics for 2018, email us at education@acnc.gov.au.

2017 Annual Information Statement release set for July

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who participated in consultations last year on proposed changes to the Annual Information Statement. In response, we’ve made a number of improvements to the 2017 online form, including improved auto-calculation, the ability to update responsible persons’ information, and more.

Charities in Tasmania and South Australia will benefit from streamlined reporting arrangements, with additional jurisdictions likely to join over the coming months.

The 2017 Annual Information Statement is set to be released in late July, and will be accompanied by a range of resources and a re-designed online guide for easier use.

We look forward to sharing this with you in the coming months.

Good wishes
Susan Pascoe AM

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