Can a charity be both Christian and a Public Benevolent Institution – we say yes!

September 7, 2020
Standards Council News

In 2016 the ACNC changed its policy position on this question so that a charity cannot now be registered as a Public Benevolent Institution (that is, an entity organised for the relief of poverty, sickness,suffering, distress, misfortune and helplessness) and at the same time be registered as having a Christian purpose. This matters for charities which could fit within both descriptions, because it effectively means that the charity must choose between registering as a PBI (which has some potential tax benefits) and proclaiming that the work it does is part of its Christian purposes (which helps it “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16) and may also help provide some relief from anti-discrimination laws). 

The ACNC has decided to review this policy and has sought submissions about what if any changes it should make. The CMA Standards Council cares deeply about the governance and regulation of Christian organisations and accordingly has made a submission that the ACNC should change its policy so that a charity can be registered both as a PBI and as having a Christian purpose, and we are aware that others have made similar submissions. Please join us in praying that the ACNC will look favourably upon these submissions. If you would like to see a copy of the submission we have made,please contact

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