Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Commission Start Date Delayed

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As predicted by many, the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC) is now slated to commence on 1 October 2012, instead of the overly optimistic 1 July 2012.

In what appears to be one of the last actions of Senator Mark Arbib before his resignation, the then Assistant Treasurer issued a media release on 1 March announcing the change. This will not affect the subsequent reforms due to commence on 1 July 2013: the definition of charities; the reporting framework; and the education portal.

The reason given for the delay is that as these are the “most important reforms to the sector in 100 years” and the government wants to “take the time to get the detail right”. The other, perhaps more cogent reason, is that it will allow the ACNC Implementation Taskforce time to provide more “guidance material to assist charities in the transition.”

This probably comes as a relief to most charitable organisations who still did not know what governance and regulatory requirements would apply to them from 1 July 2012.

With the final shape of the legislation yet to see the light of day, the ACNC Implementation Taskforce clearly has a lot on its plate to prepare for the commencement of the Commission. Having David Bradbury as the new Assistant Treasurer replacing Mark Arbib as the Minister responsible for the NFP reforms, will add to the uncertainty. However, none of those uncertainties compare to the suspense of whether, and in what form, the bill establishing the ACNC passes through parliament.

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