Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission (ACNC)
Release of Draft Legislation and Discussion Paper on Implementation Design
The Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Bill Shorten MP, today released the exposure draft legislation for the ACNC, and a discussion paper to gather community feedback on elements of a new reporting framework for charities.
The Government announced in the 2011-12 Budget that it would establish the ACNC by 1 July 2012. The ACNC will determine charitable status (including public benevolent institution status) for all Commonwealth purposes, will provide education and support to the sector and will administer a regulatory and reporting framework.
"This is a great day for the sector. The release of the exposure draft legislation and reporting framework paper for consultation provides the not-for-profit (NFP) sector and stakeholders the opportunity to further have their views heard in the development of the ACNC," Mr Shorten said.
"The NFP sector has been calling, through successive reviews and inquiries, for the establishment of a sector regulator, and the release of this exposure draft marks a key milestone in the Government's NFP reform agenda."
The ACNC exposure draft and explanatory materials set out the central provisions that will establish the ACNC, set out the objects and functions of the ACNC, and provide the regulatory framework for the charities and NFP sector.
An education role for the NFP sector will be a core function of the ACNC, and is an inherent power of the regulator. The exposure draft also contains detail on the ACNC's enforcement powers which require a new legislative authority. This reflects the complementary roles of the ACNC, in improving governance, transparency, accountability and providing educational assistance to the sector."
To assist the sector the Government is also releasing a series of factsheets about the ACNC legislation which provide additional information to the NFP sector and stakeholders, including answers to frequently asked questions. The factsheets also address those provisions that are still to be drafted.
The discussion paper seeks feedback on the design and implementation of the new reporting framework for charities that will be administered by the ACNC and is a central platform for the Government's vision of 'report-once use-often' reporting for the NFP sector. The paper also seeks comments on the ACNC's public information portal, and the ACNC's educative role.
"The Government has consulted widely on the establishment of the ACNC, and the role, form and functions of the ACNC, and will continue to do so," Mr Shorten said.
The Government consulted as part of the Scoping Study for a National NFP Regulator on the scope, goals, form and functions of a regulator, and over 160 submissions were received during the consultation process. The outcomes of this consultation were taken into consideration in the Final Report, which was released on 4 July 2011, and set out the way forward for the Government to implement a NFP Regulator.
Since the announcement to establish the ACNC in the 2011-12 Budget the Government has continued to consult on the ACNC, including with the Not-for-profit Sector Reform Council and the ATO's Charities Consultative Committee and Clubs Consultative Forum. Additional consultation on the legislation will occur through targeted consultation forums being held on 13, 14 and 15 December 2011.
Submissions on the ACNC exposure draft legislation are due on 20 January 2012. In order to have the ACNC in place and up and running by 1 July 2012, legislation for the ACNC needs to be ready to be introduced into Parliament in the first quarter of 2012.
As a result of some adjustments to proposed Parliamentary consideration of the ACNC Bill, the Government has also been able to delay the closing date for submissions on the consultation paper: Review of not-for-profit governance arrangements and the exposure draft to 20 January 2012.
The exposure draft and supporting documents can be found at www.treasury.gov.au under the Not-for-profit Reform section.
Submissions on the discussion paper on implementation design are due on 27 February 2012. The discussion paper can be found at http://acnctaskforce.treasury.gov.au.
Between 30 January and 13 February 2012 the ACNC Taskforce will conduct community consultations in each state and territory on the issues in this discussion paper. Further details are on the Taskforce website: http://acnctaskforce.treasury.gov.au.
9 December 2011