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New ACNC Commissioner announced

Charity regulator gets new leader, not everyone is happy.

Dr Gary Johns has been appointed as the full-time Commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) for a five-year period.

Johns is a Director of the Australian Institute for Progress and an Adjunct Professor at the Queensland University of Technology Business School. He is also known to some as a charity ‘critic’.

“Johns is a respected leader in the charities and not-for-profits sector, having served as a member of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership, advising the Government on practical strategies to foster a culture of philanthropic giving, volunteering and investment in Australia. He is also a columnist to The Australian, and has authored a number of books on the charities and not-for-profits sector,” said Michael Sukkar, Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, in his statement.

“He also has wide-ranging experience in regulation, public service and policy, serving as an Associate Commissioner of the Productivity Commission, a senior consultant at ACIL Tasman and an Associate Professor at the Australian Catholic University.”

“I congratulate Dr Johns on his appointment and trust that he will make a valuable contribution to the regulatory oversight of the sector,” said Sukkar

“Today, the Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, the Hon Michael Sukkar MP, announced the appointment of Dr Gary Johns as the new Commissioner of the ACNC for a period of five years,” said Murray Baird, Acting Commissioner.

“We understand that Johns will commence his duties as Commissioner from 11 December 2017.

“On behalf of the ACNC staff, we welcome Dr Johns to the ACNC and look forward to working with him.”

According to David Crosbie, CEO of the Community Council for Australia; “this is a bizarre appointment”.

“Gary Johns has made numerous public statements that clearly indicate he is opposed to many charities and their work. Only a government committed to attacking the charities sector would put someone like Gary Johns in as head of the ACNC.”

Crosbie questioned whether Johns has the capacity to fulfil the role.

“The ACNC Commissioner is a very tough gig. It requires real expertise, personal capacity, and a commitment to enhancing the valuable work done in our charities sector. Dr Johns has demonstrated none of these characteristics,” he said.

Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh said Johns would be an unsuitable appointment.

“His appointment would signal a major escalation in the government’s war on charities,” he said.

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