The Senate Economics Legislation Committee tabled a report on 16 June recommending the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Repeal) (No. 1) Bill 2014 be passed by the Senate to abolish the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). The Labor Party and Greens disagree with the findings of the report, arguing that the ACNC should be retained.
The Committee received 155 submissions, with more than 80% opposing the proposed abolition of the ACNC.
The Committee considered that abolition of the ACNC will relieve the regulatory burden faced by charities. Liberal Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee David Bushby said the Committee ‘fully endorses the establishment of a National Centre of Excellence as an advocate for the sector and a leader in innovation and as a means of providing education, training and development opportunities’.
ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe responded to the report by confirming that the charity regulator will continue to regulate the sector and perform its legislative functions until future arrangements are known. She also reiterated that charities must still honour their reporting obligations by submitting 2013 Annual Information Statements by the 30 June deadline.
If the Bill is passed, it will not take effect until the enactment of legislation containing details of the proposed arrangements to replace the ACNC.
The Government intends to release an Options Paper in July. The paper will explain the proposal for the replacement regulator and how the transition from the ACNC to the new regulator will be managed.
The Government has also announced the dates and locations for consultation forums, with limited capacity for attendees. Written submissions will also be accepted. Details of the consultation forums can be found here.