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QLD Charities Loom Large in the National Picture

18 June 2015 at 11:40 am
Xavier Smerdon
Queensland has a greater percentage of large charities than all the other Australian States and Territories, according to a new analysis from QUT’s Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies.

Xavier Smerdon | 18 June 2015 at 11:40 am


QLD Charities Loom Large in the National Picture
18 June 2015 at 11:40 am

Queensland has a greater percentage of large charities than all the other Australian States and Territories, according to a new analysis from QUT’s Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Non Profit Studies.

The ACPNS report examined the data for Queensland charities registered with the charity regulator, the ACNC, via their Annual Information Statements (AIS) lodged in 2013 and compares it with overall Australian charities.

The analysis found that 8,020 charities are based in Queensland, which equates to 18.1 per cent of all Australian charities registered in 2013 (44,352) and a further 2,558 non-Queensland resident charities operate in Queensland to make up a total of 10,578 charities operating in the sunshine state – which is 23.9 per cent of all Australian charities.

The analysis found that most (65.4 per cent) of the Queensland operating charities are considered small charities with annual revenue less than $250,000. The Australian average across all charities is 68.3 per cent.

Medium sized charities, with an annual revenue between $250,000 and $999,999, make up 15.9 per cent of Queensland operating charities. The Australian average across all charities is 15.1 per cent.

The remaining 18.6 per cent of charities are considered large charities with annual revenue of more than $1,000,000. The Australian average across all charities is 16.6 per cent.

The analysis found that Queensland charities reported engaging 1,110,816 volunteers – slightly higher than the national average, with 10 per cent of charities engaging 84.2 per cent of all volunteers in that State.

The analysis showed that the average number of volunteers was 117. For all Australian charities, the mean number of volunteers was 65.

Co-Author of the analysis, Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes said that being able to track the vital statistics of the Not for Profit sector is an essential policy tool for Governments, NFP organisations, and those businesses and foundations that seek to support charitable causes.

“Such information assists in making judgements about a range of issues. From an economic frame of reference, are there too many or too few organisations delivering services or infrastructure now, and for the future?” McGregor-Lowndes said.

“Those interested in civil society might want to understand the production of NFP organisations relative to that produced by the State, business or family and the nature of volunteers in this production.”

Prof McGregor-Lowndes said the analysis also enables better prediction of the consequences for the NFP sector of another sector’s activities, for example Government funding changes, incursion of the business sector, or families seeking or withdrawing from NFP service consumption.

“Finally, in the long-running debate about whether the NFP sector requires regulation, the big questions about what parts of it should be regulated and how this should be achieved can only be answered appropriately with knowledge about the vital characteristics of the sector,” he said.

“This policy tool has been a very crude or even a non-existent instrument in Australia compared to what has been available in other OECD countries such the USA, the UK and Canada. One of the barriers to creating this tool in Australia was that state based regulators did not collect the same or even comparable information.

“Often they did not have any means of collecting information or making it digitally available to the public. The main repository of national regulatory information was the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) which, unlike any other OECD fiscal regulator, only required taxation returns from a handful of NFP tax entities.

“The establishment of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has allowed a better policy tool to be developed due to the legislative requirement for registered charities to provide an Annual Information Statement (AIS), and adoption of digital technologies that allow complete data sets to be available to the general public in a timely fashion.”

Download the Full report

McGregor-Lowndes, Myles & Crittall, Marie (2015) The State of Queensland Charities: An examination of the first Annual Information Statements of charities operating in Queensland. ACPNS Working Paper no. 65. Available at:

Download the Summary

McGregor-Lowndes, Myles & Crittall, Marie (2015) Queensland Operating Charities. ACPNS Current Issues Information Sheet 2015/3. (Unpublished) Available at:

Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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