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ACNC commissioner appointed

18 November 2022 at 1:00 am
Ruby Kraner-Tucci
A new commissioner has been appointed to lead the charity regulator for the next five years, and she is well-established in the sector.

Ruby Kraner-Tucci | 18 November 2022 at 1:00 am


ACNC commissioner appointed
18 November 2022 at 1:00 am

A new commissioner has been appointed to lead the charity regulator for the next five years, and she is well-established in the sector.

Susan Woodward AM has today been appointed to head the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission for the next five years.

Woodward, who will commence in the role on 12 December 2022, has extensive experience in the social services sector, working as a high-profile charity lawyer and advocate for over two decades. She is widely recognised as a legal and regulatory expert.

The announcement comes just days after acting ACNC commissioner Deborah Jenkins told Pro Bono News she will be leaving the position by the end of the year, and will work with her replacement to ensure a “good transition… [so] that they are set up for success”.

Announcing the appointment, assistant charities minister Andrew Leigh thanked Jenkins for her contributions in the role over the past four months and warmly welcomed the new commissioner.

“The ACNC is the independent national regulator of charities, and works to support a strong, independent and innovative not-for-profit sector,” said Leigh.

“It is vital for Australia that the ACNC be headed by an experienced leader, who commands broad respect across the Australian community sector.

“The Albanese Government believes in the value that charities bring to our economy and society, and respects their role in our democracy. The charity and non-profit sector comprises around one-tenth of employment, and almost one-tenth of GDP.”

Woodward is perhaps most well-regarded for her time as chief adviser of not-for-profit law at national legal service Justice Connect, leading a program that offers free and affordable legal support for not-for-profit organisations and social enterprises.

While there, Woodward advocated for improved regulatory sector reforms, including a simpler, single national scheme for charitable fundraising regulation; key policy issues including those affecting volunteers; plain-language legal education for the sector; and for charity law to be seen as a specialist and important area of legal practice.

Woodward was also one of the champions behind the initial establishment of the ACNC in 2012, where she later worked as director of policy, education and red tape reduction in one of the regulator’s first leadership positions.

Elsewhere in the sector, Woodward sits on the board of the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS), Human Rights Law Centre and Australian Communities Foundation, and is a senior fellow of The University of Melbourne Law School.

In acknowledgement of this significant service across the not-for-profit sector, fundraising and law, Woodward was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in 2021.

She is the third permanent ACNC commissioner, replacing Dr Gary Johns, who stepped down from the position in July this year after his controversial appointment was criticised by the sector.

The Treasury-appointed selection panel responsible for appointing the new commissioner included the Treasury’s secretary Dr Steven Kennedy and deputy secretary Jenny Wilkinson and inaugural ACNC commissioner Susan Pascoe AM.

Ruby Kraner-Tucci  |  @ProBonoNews

Ruby Kraner-Tucci is a journalist, with a special interest in culture, community and social affairs. Reach her at


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