Summary - The ACT has followed the move by
South Australia to sign up to the ACNC legislative framework. Who
will be next?
It has been announced that the Australian Capital Territory
(ACT) will be signing up to the Australian
Charities and Not-For-Profit Commission (ACNC)
regulatory framework by making changes which will carve out the
charities registered by the ACNC from regulatory requirements under
relevant ACT legislation.
The ACT is the second Australian State or Territory to sign up
to the ACNC regulatory framework after South Australia became the
first in October 2012 to announce that it would also progress
changes to align its regulatory framework for incorporated
associations and fundraising with the ACNC.
In accordance with regulations before Parliament most charities
registered with the ACNC must comply with certain standards
(Governance Standards) in order to maintain
registration under the Australian Charities &
Not-For-Profits Commission Act 2012 (the
Act). Of particular importance is Governance Standard 5
which closely reflects a number of obligations presently imposed on
charities registered as incorporated associations under relevant
State & Territory enacted legislation.
There is therefore an obvious concern that, when the transition
period expires on 1 July 2017 and most charities must comply with
Governance Standard 5, many charities will be required to comply
with two sets of similar reporting standards resulting in
duplication and excess red tape.
Each State and Territory may develop measures to address these
issues of duplication and the announcement by South Australia and
more recently the ACT is positive news for the Not-For-Profit
(NFP) sector which has long been calling for a
streamlined national regulatory framework, rather than the complex
and fragmented system that has been allowed to develop over time in
an ad hoc manner. It will be interesting to see if any more States
and the Northern Territory also sign up to the ACNC legislative
The cornerstone of the Government's reform of the NFP sector
is the ACNC which as the first national regulator for charities in
Australia is seen as the first step to building a more streamlined
approach to NFP regulation. The ACNC registers and regulates
charities seeking Commonwealth support including access to tax
concessions and other Commonwealth exemptions, concessions and
benefits. It is also developing a "Charity
Passport" as a mechanism to share information across
Commonwealth government departments and reduce duplicated
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