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SPECIAL REPORT: AUSTRALIA’S RELIGIOUS CHARITIES


Rosie Williams

4th Jun 2019


Basic Religious Charity (BRC)

This report constitutes the tip of the iceberg in terms of the charities data and analysis that I will be launching in coming days. This page puts the spotlight on Australia's religious charities at a time when we are all reminded that all charities, religious or otherwise should be subject to the same level of scrunity and governance as any other financial organisation.

Out of the 57,000+ charities registered with the ACNC, there are over 14,000 religious charities. 8,073 of those charities are 'Basic Relgious Charities' who are not requied to report their financial information (though some do) and 6,186 of those are not BRC's and must report a range of financial information to the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission.

This data should be considered with reference to my previous article The Hidden Wealth of Australia's Religious Charities.

A Basic Religious Charity is a registered charity with the subtype of advancing religion and which meets five other requirements. Basic Religious Charities do not have to answer financial questions in the Annual Information Statement, or submit annual financial reports to us, although they may do this voluntarily. [2017 Charities Report]

35. Some charities meet the criteria of Basic Religious Charity (BRC) as defined in section 205-35 of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) Act 2012. This is the case if the charity: [AIS 2017 data explanatory notes]

36. If a charity is a BRC, it does not have to:

Below, I have aggregated the financial information provided by the ACNC for the 2017 Australian Information Statements and broken it down into totals declared by Basic Religious Charities as compared with all other religious charities.

Further to this, I have broken those figures down into the totals reported by both individual and group reporting charities. Charities have the option of submitting their financial information as an individual organisation or, combining their financial information with other charities in their network to submit as a group report.

Finally, I have aggregated the financial items across all charities (religious and non-religious), totalling them by their 'main activity' across revenue from government, total gross assets and total liabilities to provide some context against which to compare the secular with the religious.

More charities declare their main activity as 'religious activities' than any other option and this is reflected in total assets where religious charities come in 4th (out of over 30 activities) behind higher education, aged care facilities, and schools however it will have to be further investigated to determine how many of the charities declaring their main activity is school education are religious organisations.

Religious charities come in 3rd from the top after aged care and higher education for their total liabilities.


2017 aggregate AIS data for charities carrying out Religious Activities


Government Income
Non BRC $724,378,203
BRC $531,940
Total$724,910,143
Donations & Bequests
Non BRC $1,460,097,110
BRC $61,929,691
Total$1,522,026,801
Compehensive Income
Non BRC $594,854,997
BRC $23,205,135
Total $618,060,132
Total Expenses
Non BRC $4,538,039,317
BRC $160,019,515
Total $4,698,058,832
Surplus/Deficit
Non BRC $575,535,705
BRC $1,239,271
Total $576,774,976
Total Assets
Non BRC $22,518,715,404
BRC $1,849,686,219
Total $24,368,401,623
Total Liabilities
Non BRC $9,267,129,676
BRC $430,779,261
Total $9,697,908,937
Net Assets/Liabilities
Non BRC $13,251,585,728
BRC $1,418,906,958
Total $14,670,492,686

Item Indiv. Non BRC Indiv. BRC Groups Total
Gov income 0.547
Donations 1.324
Income 0.511
Expenses 3.278
Surplus/Deficit 0.513
Assets 20.111
Liabilities 8.301
Balance 11.809
0.001
0.062
0.023
0.160
0.001
1.850
0.431
1.419
0.178
0.137
0.084
1.260
0.063
2.408
0.966
1.442
0.725
1.522
0.618
4.698
0.577
24.368
9.698
14.670


All charities by main activity

Main ActivityCharities
Religious activities 14,225
Primary and secondary education 4,076
Other education 3,925
Social services 3,469
Economic, social and community development 2,514
Culture and arts 2,416
Grant-making activities 2,296
Other health service delivery 1,782
Aged care activities 1,327
Emergency and relief 1,294
None provided 1,266
Environmental activities 904
Advocacy and civic activities 883
Housing activities 779
Other recreation 767
Higher education 606
Research 600
Other philanthropic intermediaries and voluntarism promotion 572
Animal protection 570
Mental health and crisis intervention 565
International activities 509
Employment and training 508
Hospital services and rehabilitation activities 368
Sports 248
Income support and maintenance 213
Law and legal services 181
Civic and advocacy activities 21
Other recreation and social club activity 20
Econmic, social and community development 16
Support for the mentally ill & marginalised 1
Retail - Second hand clothing, bric a brac 1
Religious Activites 1
Aged Care 1
ActivityGov income Charities
Primary and secondary education $15,907,106,643 4076
Higher education $15,200,101,251 606
Aged care activities $886,5052,446 1327
Social services $8,405,213,209 3469
Other health service delivery $4,545,322,429 1782
Hospital services and rehabilitation activities $3,196,471,282 368
Other education $2,426,023,605 3925
Economic, social and community development $1,447,767,688 2514
Employment and training $1,268,048,866 508
Law and legal services $998,432,676 181
Research $937,813,858 600
Mental health and crisis intervention $892,532,963 565
Housing activities $731,740,865 779
Religious activities $724,910,143 14225
Culture and arts $721,141,544 2416
Emergency and relief $404,926,211 1294
Advocacy and civic activities $374,289,537 883
Environmental activities $242,977,241 904
International activities $201,614,726 509
Grant-making activities $105,522,390 2296
Other recreation $74,319,760 767
Econmic, social and community development $37,471,190 16
Sports $26,948,617 248
Animal protection $18,799,302 570
None provided $12,488,159 1266
Other philanthropic intermediaries and voluntarism promotion $6,740,426 572
Other recreation and social club activity $4,768,580 20
Civic and advocacy activities $1,951,027 21
Income support and maintenance $903,850 213
Support for the mentally ill & marginalised 0 1
Retail - Second hand clothing, bric a brac 0 1
Religious Activites 0 1
Aged Care 0 1
ActivityGov income Charities
Higher education $77,298,248,855 606
Aged care activities $46,160,247,218 1327
Primary and secondary education $35,056,258,793 4076
Religious activities $24,368,401,623 14225
Grant-making activities $16,554,016,476 2296
Social services $15,033,654,306 3469
Housing activities $13,930,294,529 779
Culture and arts $10,896,580,983 2416
Other education $10,876,841,900 3925
Hospital services and rehabilitation activities $10,567,422,781 368
Economic, social and community development $9,408,000,313 2514
Other health service delivery $8,707,645,425 1782
Research $5,968,915,610 600
Emergency and relief $2,154,626,551 1294
Employment and training $2,104,023,412 508
Advocacy and civic activities $1,586,523,763 883
Other philanthropic intermediaries and voluntarism promotion $1,578,021,989 572
Environmental activities $1,161,597,518 904
Other recreation $996,270,205 767
Mental health and crisis intervention $931,231,863 565
Animal protection $732,765,388 570
International activities $70,2979,369 509
Econmic, social and community development $630,984,323 16
Law and legal services $576,213,043 181
Sports $344,097,785 248
Income support and maintenance 187338376 213
None provided $180,043,734 1266
Other recreation and social club activity $27,567,739 20
Civic and advocacy activities $12,712,739 21
Support for the mentally ill & marginalised $399,133 1
Retail - Second hand clothing, bric a brac $22,593 1
Religious Activites 0 1
Aged Care 0 1
ActivityGov income Charities
Aged care activities $27,139,231,577 1327
Higher education $21,492,968,528 606
Religious activities $9,697,908,937 14225
Primary and secondary education $9,000,402,498 4076
Hospital services and rehabilitation activities $4,797,576,705 368
Social services $4,395,037,301 3469
Other education $2,695,792,725 3925
Other health service delivery $2,415,691,445 1782
Housing activities $2,268,594,873 779
Economic, social and community development $1,814,450,997 2514
Research $1,325,127,754 600
Culture and arts $668,597,226 2416
Grant-making activities $651,003,306 2296
Employment and training $628,600,460 508
Emergency and relief $599,465,062 1294
Advocacy and civic activities $36,3088,946 883
Other philanthropic intermediaries and voluntarism promotion $357,917,642 572
Mental health and crisis intervention $30,2332,120 565
Environmental activities $277,455,532 904
Law and legal services $27,7374,663 181
Econmic, social and community development $196,960,895 16
Other recreation $196,273,360 767
International activities $172,706,447 509
Animal protection $85,622,696 570
Sports $5,6940,174 248
None provided $30,885,049 1266
Income support and maintenance $9,378,391 213
Other recreation and social club activity $4,027,969 20
Civic and advocacy activities $1,813,756 21
Support for the mentally ill & marginalised 0 1
Retail - Second hand clothing, bric a brac 0 1
Religious Activites 0 1
Aged Care 0 1

I hope you enjoyed reading 'SPECIAL REPORT: AUSTRALIA’S RELIGIOUS CHARITIES' by Rosie Williams Consider sharing this article or becoming a patron of this work. Public support is my only source of income.



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