ACNC Revokes Charity Status of WA Foundation
Wednesday, 26th October 2016 at 3:20 pm
A West Australian organisation that works with miners and oil and gas workers, and their families, has had its charity status removed by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).
The ACNC announced the revocation of the Village Green Community Foundation Wednesday, saying it had backdated the revocation date to 1 July 2013.
The regulator has not released any public details about why the charity has been deregistered, only confirming that the registration was revoked under section 35-10 of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012, which relates to governance.
The chair of the foundation, Don Yates, told Pro Bono Australia News: “The removal of the charity status of the Village Green Community Foundation will not greatly affect the operations of the foundation.”
He said the organisation’s activities included the maintenance of an information website called Mining Families. The website offers wellbeing and other health related information to mining families in Western Australia.
“The heavy handed withdrawal of charity status after some 24 years of helping people is just a bit clumsy. [It is] related to the ATO and the narrow minded small number of people who would shut the door just because they can,” Yates said.
Yates is a former councillor for the city of Bassendean in Perth.
Assistant commissioner David Locke said while the ACNC could not provide further details, the ACNC’s approach to regulating Australia’s charity sector had to be firm, yet fair.
However, Locke told the Senate Estimates Committee last week that the regulator was concerned about the strict nature of the ACNC’s legislated privacy provisions.
“I think it is fair to say that we are ourselves concerned that the privacy provisions make it very difficult for us to answer questions,” Locke told the hearing.
“They also makes it difficult for us to actually explain to the community the steps that we are taking to protect trust and confidence and to address issues of malfeasance. But that is the legislation we have at the moment and have to enforce.
“But that is the legislation we have at the moment and have to enforce.”
Locke said on Wednesday about the Village Green Community Foundation revocation: “Where possible, we work with charities to help them get back on track.
“We do this by providing education, guidance and support. However, in some instances, the only appropriate course of action is to revoke charity status.
“Much of the ACNC’s compliance activity is the result of information provided by members of the public.
“On average, we receive 60 concerns each month, and around two-thirds of these concerns are raised by members of the public.”
The foundation has 60 days to object to the ACNC’s decision.