What is a charity

Across Australia, no single definition of ‘charity’ exists.  In addition to common-law definitions, the terms ‘charity’, ‘charitable purpose’ and ‘charitable status’ occur in 172 pieces of commonwealth, state and territory legislation.

Forty-five of them define the terms.

The ACNC has released A Common Definition of Charity, which discusses the implications of moving to a single definition of ‘charity’, which the commission backs.

The paper surveys the definitions in each jurisdiction and assesses the impact of a single definition on the community, charities and relevant local, state, territory and Federal Government agencies engaged in charity regulation.

ACNC assistant commissioner David Locke, said: ‘The ACNC has prepared this paper and engaged in this discussion to promote the reduction of unnecessary regulatory obligations – which is an object of the ACNC Act.  We will continue to work with our colleagues in the Commonwealth Government, and state and territory regulators, to find red tape-reduction opportunities.’


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