On 7 March 2014
we reported that the Federal Minister for Social Services,
Kevin Andrews, had confirmed the pre-election promise of the
government to abolish the Australian Charities and Non-for-Profits
A Bill was introduced to parliament on 19 March 2014 but its
debate was delayed until 2 April 2014. Subsequently, at its meeting
on 26 March 2014, the Selection of Bills Committee resolved that
the Bill be referred to the Economics Legislation Committee for
inquiry and report by 16 June 2014.
The reasons for referral are to thoroughly consider the impact
that repealing the ACNC will have on the charitable sector and to
ensure adequate stakeholder consultation occurs. A number of
representative groups of the not-for-profit sector were named in
the referral as possibly being in a position to provide submissions
Opposition leader Bill Shorten has said that the proposed repeal
of the ACNC is an insult to the regulator and to taxpayers who want
to see where their donations go. Mr Shorten has further commented
that repealing the ACNC will mean that charities will lose
visibility and governance support and the public will be more
vulnerable to frauds and scams.
Senator Rachel Siewert has also stated that the Greens will
oppose the repeal of the ACNC.
The Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill provides that the repeal
will not take effect until a later Bill that establishes the
replacement regulator, the National Centre for Excellence, is
At this point in time little information is available as to what
shape the National Centre for Excellence will take and whether the
charity register established by the ACNC will remain.
While the government has previously stated its intention to also
repeal the Charities Act, which commenced on 1 January
2014, this was not included in the repeal day Bills.
A pre-election survey conducted by Pro Bono Australia and
letters to Kevin Andrews from charities express the sector's
support for the ACNC.
While the ACNC remains, entities registered with it should
continue to comply with the relevant requirements, including
lodgment of annual information statements by 31 March 2014.
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