ACNC abolition scrapped

16 Apr image

The Federal Government has given its clearest indication yet that the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is to continue, at least into the foreseeable future.

Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told a Community Council for Australia forum on 8 April 2015 that while the government was not changing its commitment to remove the ACNC, it was “not a priority for us to proceed with that at this time”, according to The Australian newspaper.

Social services minister Scott Morrison would keep a “watching brief” on the commission, Frydenberg said. Former minister Kevin Andrews had argued the ACNC needed to be dumped as a priority “to remove the regulatory impost on the sector as soon as possible, to ensure that organisations are not reporting unnecessarily”.

The commission was set up in 2012 to increase accountability and transparency in the sector and to promote the reduction of unnecessary regulatory obligations.

The back down was broadly welcomed by charities, which have overwhelmingly supported maintaining the commission, with a survey undertaken by Pro Bono Australia illustrating that 80 per cent of respondents are in support of keeping the commission.

Liesel Wett, chief executive officer at Pathology Australia, welcomed the announcement that the ACNC was here to stay. She said: “The abolition of the ACNC would result in any efficiencies gained to date returned to an era of duplication, leaving us with more hoops to jump through, without the focus on quality that could be achieved through the planned ACNC National Centre for Excellence.

Frydenberg also told the forum that the government was looking at reforming fringe-benefit tax concessions for the not-for-profit sector.