Review of ACNC Framework
December 2017 | News | Jon Cheung
The Federal Government is required by statute to undertake a review of the ACNC Acts (the Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission Act 2012 and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Consequential and Transitional) Act 2012) after their first five years of operation. Accordingly on 20 December 2017 the Assistant Minister to the Treasurer Michael Sukkar MP announced the terms of reference for a review of the ACNC legislative and regulatory framework.
The review will be undertaken by a panel to be chaired by Mr Patrick McClure AO, who was previously Chair of the Australian Government’s Reference Group on Welfare Reform. The other members will be Ms Su McCluskey, Dr Matthew Turnour and Mr Greg Hammond OAM.
The Government has invited responses to its terms of reference in order to identify issues and make recommendations for improvements in relation to the functioning of the ACNC and the extent to which it achieves its objectives. Responses are due by 28 February 2018, with the report to be made by 31 May 2018.
Terms of reference:
The Review Panel will focus on the suitability, effectiveness and relevance to contemporary times of the ACNC regulatory framework. They will assess the Acts and the provisions and powers given to the ACNC in order to recommend reforms.
Specifically the issues for review are:
- The extent to which the objects of the ACNC Acts continue to be relevant;
- The effectiveness of the provisions and the regulatory framework established by the ACNC Acts to achieve the objects;
- Whether the powers and the functions of the ACNC Commissioner are sufficient to enable these objects to be met; and
- Whether any amendments to the ACNC Acts are required to enable the achievement of the objects and to equip the ACNC Commissioner to respond to both known and emerging issues.
The terms of reference include the list of suggested questions shown below. However, submissions do not need to be limited to these listed questions.
- Are the objects of the ACNC Act still contemporary?
- Are there gaps in the current regulatory framework that prevent the objects of the Act being met?
- Should the regulatory framework be extended beyond just registered charities to cover other classes of not-for-profits?
- What activities or behaviours by charities and not-for-profits have the greatest ability to erode public trust and confidence in the sector?
- Is there sufficient transparency to inform the ACNC and the public more broadly that funds are being used for the purpose they are being given?
- Have the risks of misconduct by charities and not-for-profits, or those that work with them, been appropriately addressed by the ACNC legislation and the establishment of the ACNC?
- Are the powers of the ACNC Commissioner the right powers to address the risk of misconduct by charities and not-for-profits, or those that work with them, so as to maintain the public’s trust and confidence? Is greater transparency required and would additional powers be appropriate?
- Has the ACNC legislation been successful in reducing any duplicative reporting burden on charities? What opportunities exist to further reduce regulatory burden?
- Has the ACNC legislation and efforts of the ACNC over the first five years struck the right balance between supporting charities to do the right thing and deterring or dealing with misconduct?
Making a submission:
According to the terms of reference, ‘the review should be informed by public submissions, by international experience, through round table discussions and by consultation on substantive issues’.
Information for making a submission can be found on the Treasurer’s website. Electronic submissions are preferred.
Prolegis Lawyers welcomes the consultation and would be pleased to advise any organisation contemplating making a submission to the review.