Health Promotion Charities

A Health Promotion Charity is described in the ACNC Act as..
An institution whose principal activity is to promote the prevention or the control of diseases in human beings

In December 2016, the ACNC made amendments to a the previous Commissioner's Interpretation Statement on HPCs. (The Commissioner's Interpretation Statement is intended to provide guidance to ACNC staff, charities and the public on the meaning and scope of the charity subtype of ‘health promotion charity’ (HPC).)

In order to be registered as an HPC, an organisation must already meet the eligibility criteria to be registered as a ‘charity’ under ACNC Act. 

This means it must meet the definition of a ‘charity’ in s.5 and so must have a ‘charitable purpose’.

It must meet all the entitlement criteria in s.25-5 of the ACNC Act, including

  1. the entity is a not-for-profit entity;  
  2. the entity is in compliance with the governance standards and external conduct standards;
  3. the entity has an ABN;
  4. the entity is not covered by a decision under an Australian law that provides for entities to be characterised on the basis of them engaging in, or supporting, terrorist or other criminal activities.

While it must have a charitable purpose, the ACNC does not consider that the purpose (or purposes) of the HPC need necessarily be the advancement of health. For example, a charity that is for the advancement of education that focuses its main educational activity on promoting safe sex in order to prevent sexually transmitted diseases can also be an HPC.

It must be able to show that if it is not yet operating, it has concrete plans to operate, and it is advantageous to show that it has access to funds, even seed funds, so that it will be able to operate viably.

The description of HPC focuses on ‘activity’, and this is the main activity. If the activity changes over time, or is no longer the prime activity, then it may no longer be an HPC.

If the primary activity is fundraising to prevent a disease or otherwise "promote the prevention or the control of diseases in human beings" it may be a HPC, but it must specify the disease in its fundraising activity.

The Interpretation Statement provides a clear and full description of the characteristics of the HPC, including examples. It can be found here: