Advisory Board Warns There is No Need to Change ACNC Legislation

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission’s independent advisory board has warned a review panel there is no need to change ACNC legislation, three weeks after the charities regulator asked the panel to consider adding two new objects to the ACNC Act.

The Australian Charities and Not‑for‑profits Commission Act 2012 and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Consequential and Transitional) Act 2012, which sets the framework for the charities regulator, are required to be reviewed after five years of operation.

On Thursday, the ACNC’s advisory board (which is separate from the commissioner and the ACNC), put forward their submission to a review panel led by Patrick McClure AO.

The submission, provided to Pro Bono News, cautioned against any sudden legislative amendments, to ensure the commission is given time to properly support the development of the charities and not-for-profit sector.

“The commission’s enabling legislation was and remains widely supported by the charity sector. There have been few if any complaints about the act,” the submission said.

“With the act having been embraced by those reliant on the ACNC’s regulatory role, and with it enabling scope for the Commonwealth and states and territories to refer further powers to the ACNC, there may be no need for amendment to the act.

“In fact, caution in recommending amendments to the act may be prudent. Legislative change creates uncertainty, and a subsequent burden of practice change by those impacted by new law. Opening up a well-functioning act to parliamentary debate may also result in unforeseen legislative outcomes.”

This recommendation contradicts with the ACNC’s own submission to the review, which called for the panel to consider adding two objects to the ACNC Act: “to promote the effective use of the resources of not-for-profit entities” and “to enhance the accountability of not-for-profit entities to donors, beneficiaries and the public”.

To view the full Pro Bono article, click here.

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