Treasury publishes report following Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission Legislative Review

The report of the Panel that was commissioned by the Commonwealth Government to review the ACNC Act was published on 22 August 2018.

The report was a requirement built into the ACNC Act, i.e. that this review be conducted 5 years after the introduction of the Act.

The Panel that conducted the review received 172 submissions, including one from HLB Mann Judd, Sydney.

The Panel noted that “There is strong support for the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and its accomplishments in the first five years…”

The Panel found that the objects of the ACNC Act continue to be relevant, and that it is unnecessary for those objects to be either expanded or prioritised.

The Panel made 30 recommendations, for consideration by the Commonwealth Government. These include:

  • No changes to the ACNC objects
  • Replace the term “responsible entity” with “responsible person”
  • Change financial reporting thresholds for charities – a small charity has less than $1,000,000 revenue on a three-year average; from $1,000,000 to less than 5,000,000 is medium, and $5,000,000 or more is large.
  • All registered entities be required to disclose related party transactions
  • Large registered entities be required to disclose remuneration paid to responsible persons and senior executives, in aggregate
  • All exemptions related to governance and financial reporting for “basic religious charities” be reviewed
  • The use of the Charity Passport by Commonwealth departments and agencies be mandated
  • Responsibility for the incorporation and all aspects of the regulation of companies which are registered with the A CNC be transferred from ASIC to the ACNC, except for those related to criminal offences
  • The Commissioner be given a discretion to disclose information about regulatory activities, including investigations when necessary to protect public trust and confidence.

The report also noted that “… in the long term, there is a need for a national scheme based on the referral of powers by the States to the Commonwealth.”

We’ll have to see which of the recommendations the Commonwealth government will adopt.

The full report can be found at: https://treasury.gov.au/review/acnc-legislation-review/

Darryl Swindells
Head of Not-for-profits
HLB Australasia