The ACNC is an important government body set up in December 2012 to regulate approximately 60,000 charities and Not-For-Profits (NFP) and achieve the following objectives (as listed on www.acnc.gov.au website):
maintain, protect and enhance public trust and confidence in the sector through increased accountability and transparency
support and sustain a robust, vibrant, independent and innovative not-for-profit sector
promote the reduction of unnecessary regulatory obligations on the sector.
The ACNC registers organisations as charities, offers support regarding obligations that need to be met by charities and NFP’s, helps the public understand the important work of the NFP sector, maintains a free and searchable public register and works with state and territory governments on keeping reporting requirements efficient and workable.
The ACNC came under attack in 2014 when it was proposed that it would be replaced by the National Centre for Excellence based on the US’s Charity Navigator. Such a model would have aimed to "…transfer the focus from coercive compliance and regulation to collaborative education, training and development" according to Federal Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews. However, it is claimed that the ACNC has been successful in lifting accountability and governance standards within the sector.
On 4 March 2016, after a lengthy and extensive consultation period, it was decided to retain the commission. The ACNC will focus on cutting red tape and continue to increase accountability and transparency within the sector.