Sector Welcomes ACNC Launch
10 December 2012 at 11:39 am
Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury launches the ACNC in Melbourne. Picture: Lina Caneva
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has been officially launched by the Assistant Treasurer, David Bradbury, in front of a broad cross-section of charities and Not for Profit sector representatives.
Speaking at the launch ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe said that the establishment of the ACNC marked an important day for the Not for Profit sector, and that she was proud to be named the first Commissioner of the charity regulator.
“It’s wonderful to be here and see so many people from the sector joining us to mark the official launch of the ACNC. I am especially pleased that our launch is being held on the International Day of Human Rights, where we acknowledge, raise the significance of, and draw attention to the Declaration of Human Rights,” Pascoe said.
“Many charities devote their efforts to ensuring that the basic human rights of individuals are met and that we provide a world where those who are less fortunate or who struggle with poverty, homelessness and indifference can find support and compassion through the work of charities.
Picture: Lina Caneva
“Many people across government and the sector have worked tirelessly to take the ACNC from a concept to a fully operational organisation. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved.”
Minister Bradbury welcomed the establishment of the ACNC and said that this is an historic day for the sector.
“I’m proud to be here today to formally launch the first ever national, independent, regulator of charities. The establishment of the ACNC is about supporting public trust and confidence in the Not for Profit sector, and about encouraging innovation and sustainability,” Minister Bradbury said.
“The ACNC will focus on cutting down on red tape for charities, so that they can get on with doing what they do best – supporting the most vulnerable members of our community.
“I would like to congratulate and formally welcome Susan Pascoe, the ACNC Commissioner, the Assistant Commissioners, David Locke and Murray Baird and the whole ACNC team.”
The ACNC opened for business on Monday December 3 after Royal Assent of the establishing legislation.
“The introduction of the ACNC is an exciting time for the sector but there will also be challenges,” Susan Pascoe said.
“We do realise that some charities, particularly smaller charities, may find the initial transition to a national regulator difficult, however our staff have completed extensive training and are here to help.
“Our staff can provide advice on a broad range of matters including the registration process, what the ACNC means for a charity, what reporting charities need to undertake, as well as providing information to the public.”
The introduction of the ACNC also marks the first time members of the public have been able to search a national database which lists all 56,000 registered charities. The ACNC Register, available on the ACNC’s website, will initially allow the public to search for charities, by state, ABN, or name.
Over time the functions of the ACNC Register will expand to include information about the registered charity, their activities, finances and reports. This will assist the public to make informed decisions about making donations and volunteering.
The official launch took place in Melbourne at Charcoal Lane, Mission Australia’s Not for profit restaurant that provides hands on work experience and training to Aboriginal and disadvantaged young people.
Not for Profit Productivity Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald has been appointed chair of the ACNC Advisory Board and he told the launch ceremony that while no one else has yet been appointed to the committee the aim is provide expert advice and direction on the intention of the ACNC legislation.
Dr Lisa Obrien, CEO of the Smith Family said: “The establishment of the ACNC is an important acknowledgement of the significant role of the charities and not-for-profit sector in Australia and the sector’s growing importance for Australia’s future wellbeing.”"The new regulator for Australian charities represents a coming of age that will enable the whole sector to grow and change for the better. Well done to all those who have delivered this major reform," Rev Tim Costello, Chair of Community Council for Australia (CCA) and CEO of World Vision said.
David Crosbie, CEO of the CCA said: “Charities are choking on a dog’s breakfast of regulations and compliance. The establishment of the ACNC will not only reduce red tape, but give voice to a sector that has been neglected for far too long. We need to use this collective voice to hold the new regulator to account, build capacity, strength and innovation across the charities sector.”
Toby Hall, CEO of Mission Australia said: “If we want our communities to flourish, we must support our not-for-profit sector and get the regulatory environment right. The ACNC is a critical part of that support. I commend all those involved in establishing the ACNC and I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to ensure this new regulator can fulfill its promise.”
Rev Keith Garner, CEO of Wesley Mission said: “The value of the work carried out by charities in Australia cannot be over-stated. It has seemed strange to me that the Australian Taxation Office would be the default regulator for charities. I am looking forward to having our own charities passport and achieving a real reduction in red tape and compliance costs.”
Jayne Meyer Tucker, CEO of Good Beginnings Australia said: “This is such an important first step – an important step in Australia’s Not For Profit future. We commend those involved who have worked so hard for so long to make this big step forward a reality.”
CCA have previously highlighted that at present in Australia, every time a charity interacts with funders and regulators – whether it is to gain a local council concession on rates, a state government approval for fundraising or an Australian Taxation Office concession – they have to prove they are a charity and establish their bona fides. The new ACNC charities passport will cut through much of this red tape. The ACNC will report annually to Parliament and to the Not for Profit sector.
Charities and members of the public can contact the ACNC by calling 13 ACNC (13 22 62), emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting the website www.acnc.gov.au. The ACNC is also active on social media through Facebook and Twitter.
Check out the official photos of the launch on the Pro Bono Australia Facebook page.