The first session of the Community Foundations Forum we attended was given by Vanessa Meachen, Director, Research and Policy at Philanthropy Australia on the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission. Vanessa is the poor soul who has to put together all the policy documents and responses to government consultation papers on behalf of the philanthropy sector, so she is pretty well versed in what is going on.
At the time of Vanessa’s talk, the ACNC Bill was on its way to the House of Representatives but has now been referred on to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs and the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services. (Submissions can be submitted up to 30 August).
Philanthropy Australia’s view is that the ACNC will be good for the community foundations sector, and that the portal will be a good source of information and transparency. It will enable organisations to upload their rules, names of directors, reports and activities, and will be searchable by donors.
In relation to reporting, organisations which have income of $250,000 – $1,000,000, a financial activity statement will be required and it may also be possible later to upload annual reports. (I note that many community foundations do not have this level of income and their reporting will be less onerous).
In yet another round of government review in the sector, Vanessa flagged that legislation relating to Companies Limited by Guarantee will be reviewed in 2013. (This was noted in a Treasury newsletter in 2011 but I haven’t been able to source a new date for it).
It will be interesting to see how far along we get with this government’s reform agenda, especially given the Opposition’s vow to scale back the ACNC should they win office.
Philanthropy Australia was keen to stress that the ACNC seems to want to help, has good staff who are familiar with the sector, and does not want to be overly punitive.
What do you think about the ACNC? Will it affect your not for profit? Will it affect how you report?