Barely 7 weeks into his new role Minister for Social Services, Scott Morrison declared on Friday that scrapping the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is not a priority in his new portfolio.
His statement to Fairfax Media demonstrates a clear and decisive policy shift away from his predecessor, former Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews’ hard stance to abolish the ACNC. On Friday Senator Morrison said to Fairfax Media “My top priority is addressing the development of a families package including child care which will help parents of young children get back to work so they can better support themselves and their families. I have advised key stakeholders in this area I have no immediate plans to be progressing that issue while I focus on higher order priorities.”
Unsurprisingly, ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe has welcomed a push to retain the body and Community Council for Australia chief executive David Crosbie urged Senator Morrison to give the ACNC an opportunity to prove its worth at least until its review in 2017.
It has been almost one year since the Bill to disband the ACNC was first brought before the Federal Parliament and although the Bill had been debated in the House of Representatives in early December, it is likely that no further action will occur for some time. This announcement does not mean that the ACNC is certainly here to stay, but it is a clear move in that direction.
For now charities will need to continue to comply with the ACNC’s requirements including submitting their Annual Information Statement. In fact charities that do not lodge for two consecutive years (2013 and 2014) face losing their charity status (and associated tax benefits). Accordingly, we recommend all charities review their status with the ACNC and confirm that their compliance and reporting obligations are up to date.
For more information on the legislation to repeal the ACNC please see our previous blog here: www.charitiesnfplaw.com.au/2014/03/19/government-to-repeal-the-ACNC/.