Background

The definition of ‘basic religious charity’ under the Australian Charities and Not for-profits Commission Act 2012 (Cth) was changed with effect from 17 March 2021.

A ‘Basic Religious Charity’ (BRC) is a registered charity with the purpose of advancing religion that meets 6 other criteria such as not receiving more than $100,000 in government grants or being endorsed by the ACNC as a deductible gift recipient (DGR). A BRC does not have to:

  • answer financial information questions in its Annual Information Statement
  • submit annual financial reports (regardless of its size); or
  • comply with the ACNC Governance Standards.

The Treasury Laws Amendment (2020 Measures No. 6) Act 2020 (Cth) amends the BRC provisions of the ACNC legislation so that a charity that has been identified as being involved in the abuse of a person, either:

  • in an application for redress under section 19 of the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Act 2018 (Cth) (Redress Act); or
  • in response to a request for information from the National Redress Scheme Operator (Secretary of the Department of Social Services) under section 24 or 25 of the Redress Act,

cannot be a BRC if,

  • it has failed to join the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (Redress Scheme) by not being a ‘participating non-government institution’ within 6 months of the application being made or the response to the request for information was given; and
  • the application for redress relating to it has not been withdrawn under s. 22 of the Redress Act.

If a charity later joins the Redress Scheme and meets the other basic religious charity criteria, it may be reinstated as a BRC.