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Reforms to ACNC’s Secrecy Provisions

Reforms to ACNC’s Secrecy Provisions (Treasury Charities Consultation)  

16/10/2023 12:00 PM

The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council argues that reforms to the Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission’s (ACNC) secrecy provisions need to strike a balance between transparency and protecting the interests of registered charities.

The Society outlined the challenges it faced during the Black Summer Bushfires where charities endured heightened public scrutiny, particularly in relation to donations, and their disaster responses.

Proactive measures implemented by the Society during the bushfires aimed to provide detailed information about donations and demonstrate its commitment to transparency. However, these efforts required significant resources.

Staff and volunteers also experienced stress due to uninformed criticism demonstrating the need for improved public awareness of the compliance requirements of registered charities, the timing of disaster responses and the role of charities generally (noting that the Society is not a first responder).

The Society supports the recommendations put forth by the Stronger Charities Alliance which include clearer guidelines, stronger public harm tests, statutory mandates for notifications during investigations, and more operational transparency. Such measures are needed to enhance accountability and safeguard the operational capabilities of charities.  

Read our submission - pdf file

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