Sunday December 2013

Parliament HouseOn Thursday last week (the last sitting day before the Christmas break), the Senate adjourned debate on the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 (which included the amendment to delay the Charities Act) and ran out of time to return to the debate before rising for the holidays.

This means that the Charities Act which includes a definition of charity will commence on 1 January 2014 as planned. This is in contrast to last week when we expected that the commencement of the Charities Act was likely to be delayed. Usefully, David Locke, Assistant Commissioner at Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), has stated that the ACNC intends to put out guidance for the sector regarding the new definition.

Importantly, charities that are already recognised as having a charitable purpose prior to the commencement of the Act will continue to be recognised as charities in accordance with section 12(k) of the Charities Act.


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ACNCEarlier this week, the Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews reconfirmed his plans to abolish the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). At the Disability Services CEO conference Minister Andrews stated “to benefit civil society as a whole, the Government has committed to abolishing the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, with repeal legislation to be introduced into Parliament next year”.

This statement is unsurprising as it reinforces the Coalition Government’s stance to abolish the ACNC.

On Wednesday 4 December, Minister Andrews introduced a late amendment to the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 to delay the commencement of the Charities Act 2013 until 1 September 2014. The Charities Act is currently due to commence on 1 January 2014. The Act provides a statutory definition of charity and was passed on the penultimate sitting day before Parliament rose before the election. For more information on the Charities Act please see our previous blog.


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