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ACNC investigates drought charities over donation handling

Following concerns in the media, the charity watchdog is investigating drought charities for its handling of large amounts of donations

The national charity regulator has launched an investigation into drought charities after concerns were raised in the media over its handling of donations.

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) contacted both Rural Aid – the charity behind the Buy a Bale campaign – and Aussie Helpers, who are both under fire for media investigations into their donation spending.

ACNC Commissioner, Gary Johns, said the watchdog was looking into whether large amounts of donations and an influx of goods were going to those in need.

“Australians have been incredibly generous and donated huge amounts of money and goods to help those affected by the drought,” Johns said.

“We have contacted two charities who are coordinating drought relief efforts to ensure donated goods and funds are being managed appropriately.”

The ACNC said it has had staff visit the operations of both charities to investigate the way they handle large sums of donations. It is working with the charities to understand their work and confirm they have procedures and practices in place to handle influxes.

“Our enquiries are still ongoing; however, both charities have fully cooperated.”

The ACNC is prohibited by secrecy provisions in the ACNC Act from disclosing further details about the enquiries, but investigations are soon expected to be completed.

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