Charity Revocations to Become the Norm
23 January 2018 at 9:37 am
The recent spate of charity compliance revocations may “become the norm”, according to the head of the national charity regulator.
New figures released by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) have revealed the number of charity revocations hit a record high in 2017, rising by 30 per cent.
In total, 26 organisations were stripped of their charity status in 2017 following investigations into misconduct and mismanagement, with four revocations announced in the lead up to Christmas and another joining the list early in the new year.
ACNC commissioner Dr Gary Johns said the recent spate of revocations could become the norm, as “concerns about charities continue to grow”.
“Last year we saw a 30 per cent increase in both charity revocations, and in the number of concerns we received,” Johns said.
“This is indicative of the public’s increasing awareness of the ACNC, as they now know where to turn to raise their concerns, and the ACNC’s improving intelligence and compliance capabilities.
“It is likely that these figures will continue to grow in 2018.”
The five most recent revocations, Pathways to Leadership, Synergy Active, Fitzroy Basin Elders Committee, Childs Vision, and the Australian Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, were all found to have breached the ACNC Act for governance standards.
But Johns said that while 2017 was a record year for revocations, most charities “do the right thing” and deserved public support.
“There are over 55,000 registered charities in Australia, and the overwhelming majority operate capably and professionally, and improve the lives of countless people,” Johns said.
“However, there are a small number of charities that abuse their position in the community and it is our job to hold them to account for their actions.
“In the most serious of cases we are left with no choice but to revoke charity status, which removes an organisation’s access to Commonwealth charity tax concessions including income tax exemption, and deductible gift recipient status.”
He confirmed the ACNC would emphasise charity compliance in 2018 to help identify and stamp out misconduct in charities.
“According to the World Giving Index, we are the sixth most generous nation in the world,” Johns said.
“In 2017 Australians gave over $10 billion to registered charities, and 3 million volunteered.
“The ACNC supports this generosity, and in 2018, we will invest additional resources into our compliance function to ensure donors can be confident when giving their time and money to registered charities.”