AUDIT UPDATE - AUSSIE HELPERS COMMITS TO IMPROVING GOVERNANCE 

Aussie Helpers has confirmed a compliance agreement with the ACNC to address concerns raised about the charity's governance.

Aussie Helpers was established in 2007 to aid Australian farmers.  It has been responding to increasing demands on its services.

The ACNC investigation found that Aussie Helpers did not have adequate policies and procedures for managing financial controls and conflicts of interest.  It also identified a need for greater awareness by the charity's responsible persons of their duties under the commission's governance standards.

Aussie Helpers CEO Natasha Kocks said that the charity had fully cooperated with the ACNC's investigation. 

She added: 'It is important to us that Aussie Helpers delivers support to those who need it, while also being well-managed with all the appropriate procedures and controls in place.  We will continue to work with the ACNC to ensure the best outcomes for the charity and the rural families we support.'

Aussie Helpers quickly grew into a major rural charity. Its governance practices and policies failed to keep up with the growth in its size and complexity.

Ms Kocks said: 'We have been working with the ACNC to address the issues identified.  All board members have now had governance training, the Aussie Helpers' constitution has been updated, and we are implementing financial controls and updating our policies and procedures.'

ACNC commissioner Gary Johns said that a compliance agreement was appropriate if a charity had cooperated with an investigation and made obvious attempts to comply with its obligations.

Dr Johns said: 'Aussie Helpers has fully cooperated with our investigation. The compliance agreement is evidence of the charity's commitment to increased accountability and transparency to donors and the public.'

For ACNC compliance decisions visit www.acnc.gov.au/raise-concern/regulating-charities/action-taken-against-charities.