Our Approach

The Coalition believes that Australian charities and not-for-profit organisations strengthen our nation through their contribution to communities right across Australia.

Australian not-for-profits lend a helping hand to those in need and make our country a better place through education, volunteer, sports, arts and welfare organisations.

Every day Australia’s charity and not-for-profit sector in countless acts of kindness and generosity make our country a better place.

That is why the Coalition is standing with not-for-profits and charities in opposing Labor’s proposed Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) which will result in more red tape and more costs on a sector that is already under great pressure.

Labor’s proposed Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission

The ACNC is predicated on the belief that Australia’s charities and not-for-profits are doing something inherently wrong and need greater government oversight. We reject this belief.

The ACNC will make life harder for volunteers and it will discourage involvement in voluntary and community endeavour.

By failing to work with the states and territories to create a single national framework, the Gillard Government will increase the costs of running a charity or not-for-profit organisation and give the government more say in how charities and not-for-profits are administered.

Instead of reducing red tape and unnecessary costs, the ACNC will add more red tape for charities and not-for-profits. While the ACNC will initially only cover those charities with exemptions, Labor’s framework will allow an eventual expansion.

Under Labor’s legislation, the ACNC will:

Require more information from yet another agency of government

A new national charities and not-for-profits register will be created to include information regarding contact details, governing rules, financial and information statements of NFPs, and will be made available on the internet.

Increase reporting requirements

A new reporting framework will be established and all registered entities will be required to provide an annual information statement. Medium and large entities will also be required to provide annual financial reports. What the government is calling the ‘charities passport’ is really a new, ‘red tape passport’.

Provide government with more powers to deregister charities

The ACNC will have the power to register and deregister not-for-profit entities.

Registration would be required for organisations to access Commonwealth exemptions, concessions and benefits, including tax concessions.

Provide the ACNC with more powers than the regulators of Australian businesses

The ACNC will be able to demand information, search premises and inspect items on premises, and seize documents or electronic equipment found on premises.

Enforcement of a range of laws will be the responsibility of the ACNC. The ACNC will have powers to issue warning notices; issue directions; enter into enforceable undertakings; apply to the courts for injunctions; suspend or remove responsible entities; and appoint acting responsible entities. The ACNC will also be able to remove ‘responsible officers’.

Give government a bigger say in the operations of registered entities

The ACNC sets up a framework for a set of governance standards which will apply to registered entities, and a set of external conduct standards which apply to all registered entities, regardless of entity type. These standards can cover such things as the content of a registered entity’s governing rules; the conduct of the registered entity; and the processes that the registered entity must have in place.