As discussed in our Legal Update of 20 March 2014, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (Repeal) (No. 1) Bill 2014 (Repeal Bill) was introduced into the House of Representatives on March 19. The Repeal Bill would, if passed, abolish the ACNC. However, the repeal would only take place with the passage through the Parliament of the No. 2 bill, which has not been introduced.

Senate committee report

On March 27 the Repeal Bill was referred to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee (Committee) for inquiry and report.

The Committee received 155 submissions plus additional information. On 16 June 2014, the Committee tabled its report recommending the Bill be passed by the Senate. Labor and Greens senators tabled dissenting minority reports calling for the ACNC to continue as Australia’s national charity regulator.

The Repeal Bill will now return to the Senate for a vote, however at this stage there is no timetable for when that may happen. There is currently only one more week in the Parliamentary sitting calendar before the winter break.

The ACNC Commissioner has stated that the ACNC will continue to regulate the sector and perform its legislative functions until future arrangements are known.

Public consultation on how to replace the ACNC

The Department of Social Services has stated that an Options Paper will explain the ACNC replacement arrangements and provide options on how key functions would be transitioned to the ATO and ASIC. The paper will be available on the Department’s website and stakeholders will be invited to provide written submissions, up until four weeks after the last open forum is held.

The Department has confirmed that it will conduct open consultations during July and August 2014 on arrangements for replacing the ACNC as national charity regulator. The Department has said that dates and locations would be advertised on the Department’s website before the end of June 2014.