The objects of the Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission Act 2012 (the Act) are:
- "to maintain, protect and enhance public trust and confidence in the Australian not‑for‑profit sector; and
- to support and sustain a robust, vibrant, independent and innovative Australian not‑for‑profit sector; and
- to promote the reduction of unnecessary regulatory obligations on the Australian not‑for‑profit sector. “
The Act seeks to achieve those objects by:
- establishing a commission that will be responsible for registering entities as not‑for‑profit entities
- administering a national regulatory framework; and
- by providing such entities with guidance and education.
The Act mandates:
- governance standards
- external conduct standards; and
- record keeping and reporting.
Penalties apply for non-compliance as well as subjecting non-registered entities to a taxation regime.
Accordingly, registration under the Act and compliance with the Act is a central pillar of good governance.
The Liberal/National Party at the 2013 Federal Election stated it was the Government’s intention if elected to repeal the Act.
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Repeal (No.1) Bill 2014 was introduced and read a first time in Parliament on 19 March 2014. The explanatory memorandum to the Bill discloses that the repeal of the Act will not take effect until a “successor agency” is established by further legislation which legislation will also contain replacement arrangements for the sector. Such arrangements are likely to include a new National Centre of Excellence to provide broad support for the sector.