Charities Commission abolished
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Charities Commission) was established in 2013 to operate as a ‘one stop shop’ for charities and not-for-profit organisations in relation to such matters as registration, access to government services and tax concessions. However, the Federal Government has announced its intention to abolish the Charities Commission.
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Repeal) (No. 1) Bill 2014 was introduced into Federal Parliament on 19 March 2014. The Bill repeals the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012, which would result in the abolition of the Charities Commission.
The Bill does not establish any replacement arrangements for the not-for-profit sector but it is intended that such arrangements will be developed as part of a second stage to the legislative reforms.
In particular, the Federal Government has made a commitment to consult stakeholders in relation to the establishment of a National Centre for Excellence to act as an advocate for the not-for-profit sector.
The Bill, if passed, will not commence until the replacement arrangements are finalised by way of a second Bill.
The Bill was referred to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee for inquiry and the committee tabled its report on 16 June 2014. Some of the important points in the report are that the committee:
- made a recommendation that the Bill be passed
- stated its view that the abolition of the Charities Commission would relieve the regulatory burden for many charities
- endorsed the establishment of the National Centre of Excellence as an advocate for the not-for-profit sector.
An options paper regarding the replacement arrangements that will apply after the abolition of the Charities Commission was recently released by the Commonwealth Department of Social Services. Submissions in response to the paper closed on 20 August 2014.
The information in this publication is provided for general purposes only. It is not to be relied on as a substitute for legal advice. Crown Law and the Department of Justice and Attorney-General accept no liability for losses caused by reliance on the material in this publication. Formal legal advice should be obtained for particular matters.
Published: 2 October 2014
Author: Catherine Jackson