Justice Connect congratulates Sue Woodward AM as the new ACNC Commissioner

18 Nov 2022

Justice Connect congratulates Sue Woodward AM, Chief Adviser to our Not-for-profit Law program, for being appointed as the new Commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC).

This appointment recognises Sue’s leadership and vision in supporting the not-for-profit and charity sector over her career.

Over her decades of academia, service, and advocacy work, she has spent her career protecting and enhancing public trust and confidence in the sector, removing red tape that ties up community organisations, and collaborating extensively to support a robust and innovative sector.

Through her research and vision, Sue has ensured community organisations can access support to understand the law, achieve good governance, and resolve legal issues that would otherwise divert organisational time, energy, and resources away from their vital community work supporting people most in need.

Sue’s research and leadership resulted in the establishment of Justice Connect’s Not-for-profit Law program in 2008. As the only specialised legal service for not-for-profits in Australia, Not-for-profit Law has helped hundreds of thousands of community organisations with legal, regulatory, and governance issues.

Through establishing and growing Not-for-profit Law, Sue has supported the critical work of community organisations across Australia, helping them to make sense of the law, stay legally compliant, thrive within complexity, and achieve good governance.

In addition to service provision, Sue has worked hard to reduce unnecessary regulatory obligations on the sector. She has been a relentless advocate for systemic reform in the charity sector and a staunch advocate for our #FixFundraising campaign, which brings together hundreds of community organisations around Australia to call on the government to unify fundraising laws nationally.

She has worked extensively with stakeholders to successfully put fundraising reform on the national agenda, with the federal and state government now poised to release a framework for national consistency on charitable fundraising before the end of 2022.

Underpinning all this work, Sue has engaged with a range of stakeholders to realise her vision of a robust, vibrant, independent and innovative not-for-profit sector. Sue has also contributed to the governance of other organisations in the sector, currently sitting on the board of Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) the Human Rights Law Centre, and the Australian Communities Foundation, and previously SANE Australia.

When COVID-19 hit, Sue was invited to sit on the Charities Crisis Cabinet, where she worked hard to ensure charities were supported and recognised for their essential role in supporting us through the pandemic. The Charities Crisis Cabinet brought leaders across the charity sector together to advocate for essential policy supports to keep charities afloat, including: a concessional rate for JobSeeker, incentives to promote philanthropy, and more government funding to emergency relief services.

These achievements and more led Sue to be awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2021 Queens Birthday Honours list for “significant service to the not-for-profit sector, fundraising and the law.”

“We are thrilled to see such a dedicated advocate in the not-for-profit and charity sector be appointed Commissioner of the ACNC,” said Chris Povey, CEO of Justice Connect.

“Her legacy at Justice Connect will be deeply felt, and we look forward to seeing all she goes on to achieve.”

“Sue’s appointment is a testament to her profound impact on the community sector. As community organisations experience increasing resourcing and legal challenges, installing strong, passionate leadership is crucial for the resilience of the sector,” said Marcia Neave AO, Chair of Justice Connect.

As Commissioner, Sue will lead the ACNC to fulfil its role as the national regulator of charities.

We are immensely thankful for Sue’s contribution to Justice Connect, and wish her all the best for her new appointment.

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Emily Malone, Justice Connect
+61 3 9021 0149

About Justice Connect:
Justice Connect is a legal service organisation and charity that designs and delivers high impact interventions to increase access to legal support and progress social justice.

About Justice Connect’s Not-for-profit Law program:
Justice Connect’s Not-for-profit Law program is a national, specialised legal program. It provides free and low-cost legal assistance to not-for-profit community organisations across Australia, runs a certified social enterprise, and advocates for better laws and regulation on behalf of the community sector.