Following extensive consultation with the not-for-profit sector, the Australian Government has today announced it will extend the start date of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission to 1 October 2012.
Assistant Treasurer Mark Arbib and Minister for Social Inclusion Mark Butler said that the three month extension would provide more time for the sector and Government to continue to work closely together to finalise the legislation.
"Since becoming Assistant Treasurer in December, I have listened to the sector's feedback about the importance of achieving these reforms, the pace of the reforms and the need for ongoing consultation prior to the introduction of the legislation into Parliament," Senator Arbib said.
"These are the most important reforms to the sector in 100 years and it is important that we take the time to get the detail right.
"The sector has provided a wealth of valuable feedback to the Government during the public consultations and this advice is shaping the new legislation.
"This extension will also provide more time for the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Implementation Taskforce to prepare and distribute further guidance materials to assist charities in the transitional period.
"I thank the sector for their tremendous input into the consultations and I encourage organisations to continue to strongly engage with the consultation process."
Minister Butler said the additional time would allow for further engagement with stakeholders, including the Not-for-Profit Sector Reform Council and the Charities Consultative Committee.
"The Gillard Government has announced the most ambitious reform agenda for Australia's not-for-profit sector in history, including establishing the first ever one-stop-shop regulator for the sector - the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission," Mr. Butler said.
"Many in the sector have been arguing for over a decade that regulatory reform is needed to help the sector grow and reduce red tape.
"That is why we are working to develop a new national approach to fundraising laws, simplify the definition of charity and introduce a one-stop-shop regulator.
"Effective engagement and consultation with the not-for-profit sector is critical to the shaping of the new Commission.
"Starting a sector-specific Commission is an historic reform for not-for-profits in Australia, and the Government is working together with the sector to ensure it is done right," Mr. Butler said.
The Commission will determine charitable status (including public benevolent institution status) for all Commonwealth purposes, will provide education and support to the sector, will administer a single national regulatory and reporting framework and will maintain a public information portal.
The extension in the commencement of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission will not affect the announced introduction of a general reporting framework and the establishment of a public information portal by 1 July 2013, as well as the introduction of a statutory definition of 'charity' by 1 July 2013.
Further information about the reform agenda can be found on the Treasury website.