Dr Matthew Turnour (9 February 2015)
The ACNC’s future
With the development in federal politics over the weekend, people interested in the not-for-profit sector and the future of the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission might have missed some comments by the Minister for Social Services reported in the Sydney Morning Herald. That newspaper reported on Saturday 7 February 2015 that the Minister was asked about the ‘axing of the ACNC’ and his reply was that this was ‘a low priority’. It also reported that the abolition of the ACNC would not pass the Senate, listing the Senators unlikely to support the abolition. There was no statement on the Minister’s website on these matters at the time of this update.
We have contacted the Minister’s office and at 12:20pm today the call was returned and we were advised that the report was correct. We were also advised that the abolition of the ACNC remains government policy and we were reminded that the Minister is new to the portfolio.
The Shadow Minister has called on the government to clarify the situation announcing that the sector needs certainty. It is difficult to argue with that proposition. His media release is available here.
PBI loses rates exemption
In the lead up to Christmas a decision of Justice Harrison of the NSW Land and Environment Court might also have escaped attention. As mentioned in our previous update, in Community Housing Limited v Clarence Valley Council  NSWLEC 193 a PBI lost rates exemption on the basis that its purposes were not ‘solely’ charitable. Charities and particularly PBIs should be reviewing their constitutions to ensure that if they were in the same situation the same result would not ensue. If it would then 2015 is the year to review your constitution.
DISCLAIMER: This update contains general information only. The information is not all inclusive and should not be considered to be legal advice. You should always obtain legal advice for your specific circumstances before relying on general information.