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ACNC publishes Submission to Treasury review of ACNC Legislation

The ACNC has published its submission to the mandated five-year review of the ACNC’s legislation, currently being conducted by Treasury.

The review has invited responses from all interested parties, encouraging comments on the performance of the legislative framework and the regulation of the charity sector in Australia.

The ACNC’s submission focuses on what we have learned over 5 years of operation as Australia’s national charity regulator and provides our suggestions and recommendations for the future of the ACNC’s legislation.

In our view, there are three major areas which the review of the ACNC legislation should address.

The first is the ACNC’s secrecy provisions. Currently, we are unable to publish information about the ACNC’s decisions on an application for registration, or the reasons why we decided to revoke a charity’s registration.

We feel we need the ability to disclose information where it is in the public interest – for example, confirming if an investigation has commenced, disclosing action the ACNC took in relation to a registered charity, and publishing a reason for decision if we decide to revoke a charity’s registration. Donors have a right to know whether a charity is involved in an investigation. This level of transparency is critical in building trust.

The second recommendation relates to the ways we can use the information we collect. Currently, some information about registered charities is published on the ACNC Charity Register – but we believe more can be done to highlight the depth, diversity and achievements of our charity sector to donors. Changes to the legislation will allow further information to be displayed and publicised, which we believe will be beneficial to all stakeholders.

The final focus area is the ACNC’s objectives, which are prescribed as objects in the ACNC Act. I believe there is benefit in adding two objects to the ACNC Act:

  • To promote the effective use of the resources of not-for-profit entities; and
  • To enhance the accountability of not-for-profit entities to donors, beneficiaries and the public

To view the full ACNC submission, click here.

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