Turnbull Government Makes Plans for ACNC’s Future
23 December 2015 at 12:12 pm
The Turnbull Government appears to have given the first official indication that it is not planning to abolish the national charity regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.
The Treasury has released draft amendments to the way that private and public ancillary funds will operate, including reporting to the charity regulator.
Ancillary funds provide a link between donors and organisations that can receive tax deductible donations as deductible gift recipients (DGRs).
While the draft amendments released by the Treasury mainly allowed for updating ancillary fund guidelines, they also stated that the ACNC will have an ongoing role in the Turnbull Government.
The documents revealed that from 1 July 2016 private ancillary funds (PAFs) and public ancillary funds (PuAFs) will be able to report directly to the ACNC instead of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
“The Private Ancillary Fund and Public Ancillary Fund Amendment Guidelines 2015 (amending guidelines) amend the Private Ancillary Fund Guidelines 2009 and the Public Ancillary Fund Guidelines 2011 to… remove red tape by ensuring that material provided to the ACNC is not also requested separately by the Australian Taxation Office and allow smaller private funds to seek a review instead of an audit,” the draft amendments said.
The documents also stated that the updates were being introduced specifically to reflect the introduction of the ACNC.
It is the first time the government has mentioned an ongoing role for the ACNC in a policy document and appears to show that the government has shifted its stance on the charity regulator, which former prime minister Tony Abbott had pledged to abolish.
Previously the government has made a series of contradictory statements on the future of the ACNC, leaving the sector guessing on whether or not it had a future.
Former social services minister and current Treasurer, Scott Morrison, said that abolishing the ACNC was no longer a priority but in September he muddied the water by saying that commission should act as a “champion of the sector”, rather than as a regulator.
Earlier this month Social Services Minister Christian Porter’s office told Pro Bono Australia News that he had not made a decision about the future of the ACNC.
The ACNC recently released a landmark report showing that the Australian charity sector was worth $103 billion.
Submissions on the amendments to the ancillary fund guidelines will close on Friday 12 February 2016.