What is a health promotion charity?

The ACNC has issued an exposure draft Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement to identify organisations which would be eligible for registration as health promotion charities (HPC).

A HPC is an “institution whose principal activity is to promote the prevention or control of diseases in human beings”.

The Statement says that:

  • In order to be registered as an HPC, an organisation must already meet the eligibility criteria to be registered as a ‘charity’ under the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012.
  • The definition of an HPC is narrower than the definition of “a charity with a purpose of advancing health”.
  • An HPC must meet the definition of ‘institution’. There is no required legal structure to be an institution but it must exist to enable the carrying out of the charitable purpose. Incorporation on its own will not be sufficient; so not all corporations will be institutions. A mere trust or a fund will not be an institution. In determining whether a charity is an institution, consideration will be given to a range of factors including its structure, size, permanence, recognition and activities.
  • An organisation that fundraises for charities without identifying the charity or the disease that it seeks to promote control or prevention of will not be eligible to be registered as an HPC.
  • An HPC can undertake other activities, but promoting the prevention or control of diseases in human beings must be its main activity.
  • The promotion must relate to prevention or control of disease.
  • The disease must affect human beings – diseases affecting animals, but not humans, will not meet this definition.
  • An organisation that fundraises in order to promote the prevention or control of disease can be an HPC itself, when the organisation it is fundraising for has as its principal activity the promotion of the prevention or control of disease, such as fundraising for a cancer research and treatment charity.
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