Presentation from Tessa Boyd-Caine, Deputy CEO of ACOSS , on

Australian CouncilAustralian
of Social Council
Service of Social Service
Charity Law and the NFP
Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine, Deputy CEO, ACOSS
ACOSS Charity Law Briefing
Sydney, 10 August 2012
Supported by NAB
Australian Council of Social Service
Purpose of this seminar
• To bring sector organisations up to speed on
not-for-profit sector reforms and what they
mean for you.
• Focus particularly on the Australian Charities
and NFP Commission; and
• The definition of charity.
Australian Council of Social Service
Origin of NFP reforms
Productivity Commission study into the contribution of the NFP sector:
chaired by Robert Fitzgerald, reported January 2010.
Recommendations included:
The Australian Government should establish a one-stop-shop for
Commonwealth regulation by consolidating various regulatory
functions into a new national Registrar.
The Australian Government should adopt a statutory definition of
charitable purposes in accordance with the recommendations of the
2001 Inquiry into the Definition of Charities and Related
Additional recommendations included:
reducing compliance costs and improving effectiveness; establishing
a standardised process of measurement and evaluation; developing
a sustainable market for financing NFP debt; stimulating innovation;
and building sector capabilities to improve governance and enhance
Australian Council of Social Service
Government reform commitments
May 2011, Commonwealth Government commits to:
Establish the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits
Reform the use of tax concessions by businesses run
by NFPs, with the objective of ‘better targeting of tax
concessions’; and
Introduce a statutory definition of ‘charity’, to address
current ‘outdated and uncertain’ definition and assist
the sector through greater consistency.
Australian Council of Social Service
Support for a national regulator
ACOSS submission to PC study recommended:
Appointing an Independent Commission for the Not for Profit Sector – this
would include a national regulatory role and a common chart of accounts,
national fundraising legislation, reduction in red tape and capacity
building for the sector. It could also have a role as a conduit between
governments and the broader Not for Profit Sector (but not at the expense
of specific departmental relationships). It should cover the entire NFP
sector but with different levels of reporting depending on size of turnover,
staff etc. This would allow for organisations to remain in the same system
as they evolve. The Commission must be located independently from the
Australian Taxation Office, as was recommended by the 2001 Definitions of
Charity Inquiry.
Australian Council of Social Service
Development of the ACNC
• Exposure draft of legislation establishing ACNC was
released by Treasury in November 2011.
• ACOSS was concerned about:
– over-reaching scope;
– lack of clarity about the independence of the Commission; and
– prescriptive tenor of governance arrangements proposed.
• Since then, opportunity for participation has been limited to
‘targeted’ consultation: confidential and by invitation-only.
Australian Council of Social Service
Current status of ACNC
• Bill currently before the House of Representatives
Economics Committee:
– Submissions and oral hearings in July indicated continuing
support for ACNC, despite some key areas of concern.
– Committee due to report next week.
• The ACNC is scheduled to open its doors on 1
October 2012.
• In order to do so, legislation must pass in AugustSeptember.
Australian Council of Social Service
While we have some ongoing concerns …
Independence of the ACNC
Role of the ACNC in reducing red tape
Drafting of the legislation
Definition of charity
Governance standards (section 45-10)
Procedural fairness
Enforcement powers
Proportionality of sanctions
Attribution of government funding - Explanatory Materials
Importance of effective consultation
Australian Council of Social Service
We want this reform to succeed!
• Once in a generation opportunity to establish a regulator
in our sector.
• Clear commitment from ACNC Implementation Taskforce
towards effective consultation with the sector.
• Clear directions ahead to balance deficits in the
legislation through regulations, policies; and to pick up
sector priorities that aren’t reflected in the Bill, such as
the transfer of powers from other regulators.
Australian Council of Social Service
Thank you
• [email protected]
• For more information, visit ACOSS sector
development materials at,

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