Turner Foundation One of Three Charities To Lose ACNC Status
5 July 2016 at 11:46 am
A Not for Profit vintage car museum, set up by millionaire philanthropist David Winston Turner, is one of three charities to be deregistered in the latest investigation by the national charity regulator over allegations of misusing charitable assets and failing to meet their obligations.
The Turner Foundation museum and library for car enthusiasts, along with a Queensland Indigenous emergency relief charity and a LGBTI mental health organisation are the latest charities to lose their charitable status.
The latest revocations by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) bring to seven the number of charities deregistered in June.
The latest organisations are The Trustee For The Turner Foundation, The Trustee For Gulf And West Queensland Economic Foundation Limited Trust and Angelorum Limited.
Turner, the founder of the charitable trust for the preservation, restoration and maintenance of significant historic and modern vehicles and the original trustee of the Turner Foundation, died in 2012.
In 2015 the estate of the wealthy Melbourne stockbroker donated $5.2 million to Monash University, the largest ever donation to the institution, to support mental health research.
Turner was an economics graduate from Monash University and his bequest is to be distributed over a seven year period by the David Winston Turner Endowment Fund, a separate organisation to the Turner Foundation.
At the time, Monash University Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner said the generosity of graduates like David Turner in providing philanthropic funding was often the difference between a good university and a great university.
According to the Australian Business Register, The Trustee For The Turner Foundation has been operating since 2004 and is based in Victoria.
It was endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as a deductible gift recipient (DGR), and was also endorsed to access to charity tax concessions including the GST concession and income tax exemption.
The Gulf and West Queensland Economic Foundation is described as an volunteer emergency relief charity. It provided emergency assistance to Indigenous community members across North Western Queensland.
It has been operating since 2004 and is endorsed by the ATO to access income tax exemption as a charity.
Angelorum is a mental health and crisis intervention charity which is a member of the National LGBTI Health Alliance. It has been operating since 2012 and is based in Western Australia.
It was endorsed by the ATO as a DGR, and was also endorsed to access Commonwealth tax concessions as a health promotion charity with the GST concession, FBT exemption and income tax exemption.
The earlier four deregistered charities in June were the Newcastle Night Angels Homeless Care Incorporated, St Andrews Children Neighbourhood Centre Inc, Balranald Aboriginal Health Service Incorporated and Xin Yi Dai Inc, which all lost access to Commonwealth charity tax concessions following an investigation into what the ACNC described as “serious circumstances of mismanagement”.
The ACNC said the latest charities have 60 days to object to the ACNC’s revocation decisions, in which case they will be reviewed internally.
Commissioner Susan Pascoe AM said that the recent spate of revocations should be a warning to any registered charity that was deliberately not meeting its obligations or misusing its charitable assets.
“While the vast majority of registered charities are run by good people who are trying to contribute to our communities, there are some that mismanage charities, or worse still, use them as a vehicle for personal gain,” Pascoe said.
“When we find serious circumstances of mismanagement or deliberate breaches of the ACNC Act we will revoke charity status. We make no apology about taking a tough stance where appropriate.
“In the interests of public trust and confidence in the sector, it is important that only legitimate registered charities remain on the ACNC Charity Register.
“These organisations will now appear in red as “Revoked” on the Charity Register – I encourage members of the public to always search the Charity Register before giving. The Charity Register is a free, searchable database that provides the public with a wealth of information to help them make informed giving decisions.”
Pascoe said that while revocation of charity status was a very serious step, the ACNC’s approach to compliance always starts with education and guidance.
“Our proportionate approach to compliance is centred on working with charities to help them get back on track,” she said.
“Unfortunately, there are instances where guidance and education, or even the other regulatory powers at our disposal are not sufficient and we must move to revoke charity status.”
The ACNC said it is prevented from disclosing further details due to secrecy provisions in the ACNC Act. However, the ACNC will publish instances in which it uses its formal powers, including revocation, on the Charity Register.