HammondCare welcomes passing of charities legislation

HammondCare welcomes a new era for Australian charities following the passing this morning in the House of Representatives of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission legislation.

As a leading independent charity, HammondCare is looking forward to a new era of transparency and efficiency for charities as well a renewed focus on their unique and invaluable role.After the Senate passed the bill with amendments last night, it returned to the House of Representatives this morning and was passed, ensuring the ACNC would begin in December 2012.

Chief Executive Dr Stephen Judd said that it was a major improvement for charities to have a dedicated body to relate to.

"The ACNC will be the primary interface between government and charities and I think that will be a great improvement on the previous situation where the only interface was the ATO," Dr Judd said.

"HammondCare already has a commitment to transparency including posting annual reports and financial statements on our website but now Australians will be able to got to a single website for that information from all charities which I think is good for transparency and efficiency.

"One of the goals of the ACNC is to make it possible for charities to submit regulatory and reporting information once in a format that can be used a number of times meaning a reduction in red tape and administration. This 'report-once, use-often' reporting framework is a 'must-have' for the sector."

Dr Judd welcomed the opportunity for charities to give the Australian people an account of the social dividend they provide.

"I think this is a great opportunity for HammondCare and other charities to show how much we are doing to support people whose lives are at risk, providing for the disadvantaged and contributing to research and training."

While welcoming the new charity commission, Dr Judd said there were challenges for the sector and one of these related to the implementation of Unrelated Business Income Tax.

"A challenge for the charity sector will be to work with Government to ensure there aren't any unintended consequences of the legislation such as impairing the legitimate activities of charities and that the social enterprise of charities is encouraged, not discouraged."

Some other benefits of the ACNC for charities and the community include:

  • With oversight of registered charities which are corporations moving from ASIC to the ACNC, they will no longer have to pay annual ASIC fees, and the ACNC will not be charging annual fees.
  • The ACNC will also be required to report its progress on red tape reduction annually to Parliament.