ACNC submits key recommendations on its legislation

ACNC submits key recommendations on its legislation​

The federal government announced in December terms of reference for a legislated five-year review of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Consequential and Transitional) Act 2012.

The ACNC’s submission on the review of its legislation focused on what the commission has learned over the past five years of operation as Australia’s national charity regulator and provided suggestions and recommendations.

It believed that the review needed to address three major areas.

First was the ACNC’s secrecy provisions.  The commission is unable to publish information about its decisions on application for registration or the reasons why it decides to revoke a charity’s registration.

The ACNC submitted that the ability to disclose information where it was in the public interest was important.

It could disclose if an investigation had begun, if the commission had acted against a registered charity, and publish a reason for a decision to revoke a charity’s registration.  Donors had a right to know whether a charity was involved in an investigation, the commission submitted.  This level of transparency was critical in building trust.

The second recommendation was to broaden publication of information the ACNC collected.

While information about registered charities was published on the ACNC charity register, more could be done to highlight the depth, diversity and achievements of the charity sector.  Changes to the legislation should allow further information to be displayed and publicised, which would benefit stakeholders.

The third recommendation added two objectives 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.

The submission is available to download at https://acnc.gov.au/ACNC/Comms/LN/LN_20180119.aspx

A review panel will report its findings and recommendations by 31 May.