A-OK: Drought charity Aussie Helpers has been cleared  of inappropriate financial conduct.
A-OK: Drought charity Aussie Helpers has been cleared of inappropriate financial conduct. Trevor Veale

Aussie Helpers cleared of inappropriate financial conduct

AFTER a six-month investigation, rural assistance charity Aussie Helpers has been cleared by the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission for the organisation of inappropriate financial conduct.

Aussie Helpers supports hundreds of farming families affected by the drought each year in southwest Queensland.

This year, Aussie Helpers distributed much-needed financial aid to farmers in Roma, Chinchilla and Dalby delivering Visa cards to several families.

The Visa cards allow farmers to use the money for whatever they need most and provide a boost to local businesses at the same time.

However, due to a number of adverse claims on social media regarding financial wrongdoings, the organisation approached the commission in October 2018 for confirmation that it was meeting its reporting obligations.

A defamation case in relation to those claims is currently before the courts.

Aussie Helpers chief executive Natasha Kocks said she welcomed the commission's findings and was proud to share the news with the volunteers and supporters who worked hard to help Australian farmers.

"Aussie Helpers are proud to have been cleared by the ACNC and this means we can focus on what's most important - helping our farmers,” Ms Kocks said.

"The ACNC confirmed Aussie Helpers' reporting compliance but also elected to launch a more thorough investigation of the charity's processes.

"The ACNC has found that the money donated to help Aussie farmers goes exactly where we say it does, which is into the pockets of Aussie farmers who are in need.

"The only requirements that have been raised by the ACNC are updates to some of our systems, processes and policies.”

In what started as a $20 raffle, Ms Kocks said the organisation had grown so fast since that it was not surprising there were some internal protocols that needed to be brought up to speed.

"I would like to also thank the members of the community who've continued to support Aussie Helpers and donate over the course of the investigation,” Ms Kocks said.

"Your donations have kept farming families going.

"In the past year, Aussie Helpers received $8.3 million in generous donations and had already passed on 83.5 per cent of the funds straight into the hands of struggling farmers.

"As expected of all charities, there are operational costs of running a non-profit, such as transporting donations or covering overheads, so to be able to deliver such a huge amount directly to farmers is a fantastic effort.”

Addressing the defamation suit, Ms Kocks said it was important for Aussie Helpers to clear its name.

"We want to move forward and focus on one thing and that's supporting rural Australians experiencing poverty, social isolation and hardship,” Ms Kocks said.

"We would like to encourage anyone wanting to support farmers and their families to make a donation or volunteer their time.

"You could save a life.”

To find out more about Aussie Helpers, visit www.aussiehelpers.org.au.

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