A new Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) governance standard is now in place which requires registered charities to take reasonable steps to join the National Redress Scheme if an application has been made, or is likely to be made, against them.
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said this would allow institutions which have been named as failing to join the Scheme to be stripped of their charitable status and, therefore, lose associated tax concessions.
“The Morrison Government has been absolutely clear that we expect institutions named by a survivor in an application to join the National Redress Scheme,” Minister Ruston said.
“The Government has taken action to encourage institutions to participate in the Scheme and enable survivors to access the redress they deserve.”
Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said the new governance standard builds on legislative amendments designed to compel basic religious charities to join the Scheme if they have been identified in an application for redress.
“From now on, the ACNC will have the power to investigate whether a publicly named institution has met the new governance standard, and if it is breached, can now revoke the institution’s charity status,” Minister Sukkar said.
To date, three non-government institutions have not joined or signified their intent to join the Scheme, namely, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Kenja Communications and Fairbridge Restored Limited.
“While these three institutions refuse to participate, applications from survivors of institutional child sexual abuse naming these institutions are unable to be processed,” Minister Ruston said.
“These institutions will be ineligible to apply for any future Commonwealth grant funding and, if they are a charity, they will be at risk of losing their charitable status.”
If a new, non-participating institution is named in an application it will have six months to join the Scheme from when they are notified that they are required to participate in the Scheme.
Failure to do so will mean the institution will be publicly named, become ineligible for Commonwealth grant funding and be at risk of losing their charitable status.
The list of institutions is available at www.nationalredress.gov.au/institutions/institutions-have-not-yet-joined