Summary – Legislation to establish the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission (ACNC) has passed through both Houses of Federal Parliament.
The ACNC has been established as a specialist, national regulator for the Australian charities and Not-For-Profits (NFP) sector. Its establishment is the cornerstone of the Federal Government’s NFP reform agenda for the implementation of a national approach to regulation of the sector. It will apply initially to charities and in due course to the rest of the NFP sector.
The Legislation comprises two Bills: the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission Bill 2012 and the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission (Consequential and Transitional) Bill 2012 (ACNC Bills).
The objects of the ACNC Bills are stated as:
- to maintain, protect and enhance the public trust and confidence in the NFP sector;
- to support and sustain a robust, vibrant, independent and innovative NFP sector; and
- to promote the reduction of unnecessary regulatory obligations on the NFP sector.
These objects will be pursued through:
- the establishment of a national regulatory framework specifically focused on NFP entities to reflect the unique goals, structures and funding arrangements of NFPs;
- the establishment of the ACNC Commissioner who will be responsible for:
- registration of entities according to type and subtypes;
- administering the national regulatory framework; and
- assisting registered entities to comply with and understand their regulatory obligations.
Although registration with the ACNC is voluntary it will be a necessary prerequisite for charities to access Commonwealth tax concessions and other concessions, exemptions and benefits.
The starting date for the Commission is due to be announced shortly, however, it is expected to commence some time in December 2012.
We are in the process of considering the ACNC Bills in more detail and will provide further commentary shortly, however if you would like any additional information please contact Bill d’Apice (Partner) or Chris Curran (Senior Associate) or Anna Lewis (Lawyer).