Review of Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) legislation

This submission was originally published on 1 March 2018.

BDO welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback in response to the Review of Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) legislation which will enable the Government to meet its statutory obligation that a 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 (together, the ACNC Acts) must be undertaken after their first five years of operation. 

Our submission addresses questions 1-5 and 8-9 in the Review where BDO are of the belief that:

  • The NFP sector should be given a clear direction on administration of the NFP sector
  • The current regulatory framework is appropriate for the management of those entities that seek registration as a charity or Deductible Gift Recipient status
  • If the ACNC is to regulate all not for profits, there will be a need for all States to hand over the role of regulating incorporated associations to the ACNC
  • There is limited comparability of fundraising costs of for different charities and each charity has to identify how it will seek to generate income to allow the charity to pursue their objects but where any concerns arise the ACNC should raise questions with the particular charity in order to understand the strategies and numbers
  • The transparency of the use of funds by charities is the responsibility of the particular charities and the ACNC should be the voice and arm of society on the conduct of charities (and NFP’s if that is ultimately implemented)
  • Consideration should be given to alignment of the financial information reporting requirements of the various state regulatory authorities with either the ACAN assuming all the regulatory authority or the States implementing standard legislation for regulation of charities in all the States
  • The ACNC needs to maintain its education role to recognise the newly appointed responsible persons and the new charities.

These and other issues are expanded upon in the appendix to the submission.