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Charity revocations hit record high in 2017

Charity compliance revocations have risen by 30 per cent, according to new figures released today by the national charity regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).

Four revocations were announced in the lead up to Christmas, with another joining the list early in the new year. In total, 26 organisations were stripped of their charity status in 2017 following investigations into misconduct and mismanagement.

The five most recent revocations, Pathways to LeadershipSynergy ActiveFitzroy Basin Elders CommitteeChilds Vision, and the Australian Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, were all found to have breached the ACNC Act or Governance Standards.

ACNC Commissioner, the Hon Dr Gary Johns, said that the recent spate of revocations may become the norm, as concerns about charities continue to grow.

“Last year we saw a 30 per cent increase in both charity revocations, and in the number of concerns we received,” Dr Johns said.

“This is indicative of the public’s increasing awareness of the ACNC, as they now know where to turn to raise their concerns, and the ACNC’s improving intelligence and compliance capabilities.

“It is likely that these figures will continue to grow in 2018.”

Dr Johns said that while 2017 was a record year for revocations, most charities do the right thing and deserve public support.

“There are over 55,000 registered charities in Australia, and the overwhelming majority operate capably and professionally, and improve the lives of countless people,” he said.

“However, there are a small number of charities that abuse their position in the community and it is our job it to hold them to account for their actions.

“In the most serious of cases we are left with no choice but to revoke charity status, which removes an organisation’s access to Commonwealth charity tax concessions including income tax exemption, and deductible gift recipient status.

“Many of our investigations are supported by information provided by members of the public. I encourage anyone with concerns to raise them with the ACNC by visiting acnc.gov.au.”

Dr Johns confirmed that the ACNC will emphasise charity compliance in 2018 to help identify and stamp out misconduct in charities.

“According to the World Giving Index, we are the 6th most generous nation in the world,” Dr Johns said.

“In 2017 Australians gave over $10 billion to registered charities, and 3 million volunteered.

“The ACNC supports this generosity, and in 2018, we will invest additional resources into our compliance function to ensure donors can be confident when giving their time and money to registered charities.”

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