AICD expresses significant concerns with changes to ACNC Governance Standards relating to unlawful activity

Monday, 15 March 2021

On 12 February, the AICD lodged a submission with Treasury on the Government’s proposal to expand the scope of ACNC Governance Standard 3 by adding that registered charities are not entitled to remain registered with the ACNC if they breach a summary offence (such as trespass or unlawful entry or vandalism of personal property) or “fail to take reasonable steps to ensure its resources are not used to promote” such acts.

While the AICD strongly supports compliance with the law and does not condone unlawful activities by registered charities, we have significant concerns with the proposal and do not support the draft instrument proceeding as drafted. In particular, the AICD does not does not consider it appropriate that the ACNC Commissioner has the discretion to remove charities from the register in the circumstances proposed. Given the severe consequences that removal from the ACNC register can have on a charity (including losing income tax concessions), such a power is only appropriate if it is proportionate to the misconduct and subject to procedural fairness such as rights of appeal.

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