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Catholic charities risk losing status

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Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Several Catholic groups are at risk of losing their charity status after failing to respond to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

The commission today announced it would revoke charity status for more than 200 organisations that are believed to have ceased operating after they failed to respond to letters, emails and phone calls from the regulatory body.

ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe said the move was necessary in order to maintain the integrity of the Charity Register.

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Established in December 2012, it was the nation’s first online database of Australian registered charities.

“We have made multiple attempts over the years to contact these charities and we have now concluded that they are inactive or no longer operating,” Ms Pascoe said.

Among the hundreds of non-responsive charities listed on the ACNC website are the Association of Catholic Secondary Schools of Queensland, Catholic Engaged Encounter Victoria, St Mary’s Catholic School Parents and Friends Association, Charleville, and St Mary’s Primary Schoolparents and Friends Association, Maryborough, Queensland.

Ms Pascoe urged all non-responsive charitable groups to contact the ACNC before 11 November to maintain their charity status.

“Members of the public expect that only charities that are active and compliant with their obligations remain registered with the ACNC,” she said.

A further 8000 charities will soon be at risk of revocation if they don’t submit overdue reports.

With the deadline for the 2015 Annual Information Statement approaching, thousands of charities are nearly a year late in lodging their 2014 statement.

“These charities already have a red-mark on their Charity Register listing to indicate to the public that the charity has not met its obligations,” Ms Pascoe said.

“The ACNC takes a firm but fair approach to compliance, but will not tolerate persistent failure to meet obligations.”

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