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Mt Tamborine Conference Centre: charity review

Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.  Use the ‘Search charity names’ box to see if there is a later review.  If the latest review has a message like this, you are welcome to make your case for an updated review via email to ted@businessbythebook.com.au.

This is a review[1] for donors in the series ‘Organisations accredited by the CMA Standards Council’. The CMA Standards Council is ‘a ministry of Christian Ministry Advancement Ltd’[2], with a missionto help build faith and trust in Christian organisations, be they churches, charities, schools or otherwise, to enable them to achieve more effective outcomes[3]. Mt Tamborine Conference Centre’ one of these accredited organisations[4].

For each of the last two reviews, Mt Tamborine Conference Centre did not respond when sent a draft of the review. This year was no different.

Mt Tamborine Conference Centre is required by the above accreditation to respond to feedback/complaints ‘in a timely and responsive manner’. Their ‘Guide to Handling Complaints and/or Grievancespolicy covers this, and much more, including that complaints are valuable to them.


Mt Tamborine Conference Centre is an organisation that seeks donations online. The charities’ regulator, the ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the organisation’s name.
  2. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
  3. Be careful of online requests for donations.
  4. No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one.
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.

Here’s the results for ‘Mt Tamborine Conference Centre’, with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[5].

1.  A search on the ACNC Register of charities for ‘Mt Tamborine Conference Centre’ brings up a charity in the name Mount Tamborine Convention. This is because this charity has ‘Mt Tamborine Conference Centre’ recorded as one of the other names by which it is known[6].


2.   Nothing on the Register or the website indicates that MTCC uses door-to-door or street collectors.


3.   MTCC’s ‘Donate’ pagebegins with ‘https’ and…there is a closed padlock symbol next to the website’s URL in the address bar”. But there is no information about the security of your information.


4.   The ABN record says that no tax deduction is available for a donation to MTCC. The ‘Donate’ page does not mention tax. MTCC is nevertheless a legitimate charity.


5.  The use of your donations

Objects / Mission

See here.



  1. There is no description under ‘About us’ on the website, but the main menu has
  2. Although it is not in the above ‘Accommodation’ menu, MTCC promote, on their site, the camps of various other Christian organisations[8]. These are within the ‘MTC precinct’. Although there is nothing explicit anywhere, part of the Board Chair’s report in the Annual Report 2018 implies that the whole precinct belongs to MTCC:

  • What is the legal and financial relationship between these other organisations and MTCC?


Sharing the Gospel[9]?

The conferences planned so far for 2019-2020 are directed at Christians.



MTCC operates, per the ACNC Register, only in Australia, and then only in Queensland.


Giving options online

None offered.


Financial reporting

The audited account of how a charity uses donations is normally the Financial Report 2018 on the ACNC Register. But MTCC, because it is a ‘basic religious charity’[10], does not have to lodge such a report. And it didn’t[11]. But they did lodge, in a different location, their Annual Report 2018, and that report includes a ‘2018 Financial Report’.

As in previous years, there are serious issues with this Report. You should therefore be careful in relying on it as a source of information.

1.  Do you provide or give things to, receive things from, or have oversight of, or review, of MTCC? Perhaps you intend to donate or are one of the donors who together gave $72K last year [2018 Financial Report]? Perhaps you are one of their 55 staff [AIS 2018], or are thinking of volunteering?[12] If so, can you ring MTCC’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity? I very much doubt it. You are therefore ‘potentially interested in the information provided in general purpose reports’.

But the directors, with the agreement of the auditor, have again produced special purpose financial statements[13], a decision that implies] that you don’t exist. They continue to give no reason for this decision[14].

So, the financial statements have not been drawn up to suit you. 

2.   What the auditor, Glen Klein CPA, of Audit Right Pty Ltd, has done is materially deficient. As a member of one of the three professional accounting bodies, he is required to comply with the Australian Auditing Standards. If he had done this then MTCC’s financial statements would not be

    • Special purpose financial statements.
    • Missing two of the four required financial statements.
    • Presented as if they were the work of Audit Right Pty Ltd.
    • Missing any reference to the (unusual) Act under which MTCC is incorporated.
    • Using a long-superseded format for the Income and Expenditure Statement.
    • Missing information about the relationship between the ‘MTCC Precinct’, MTCC, and charities such as TLC.

This means that MTCC’s financial statements do not meet the requirements of their partnership with the CMA Standards Council (Standard 6.1].

3.  MTCC got a qualified audit, probably unnecessarily. This is the auditor’s explanation for the qualification:

The problem with this is that the Auditing Standards do not allow him to issue such an opinion merely because he wasn’t the auditor last year. There are procedures he has to perform, and these would normally avoid the need for such an opinion.

Here, from the ACNC Register are the directors responsible for this situation[15]:

Duncan Drew

Graham Stenton

John Sheen

Rodney Logan

Suzanne Nelson

William Vine

The Annual Report 2018 shows Anna Roberts, Peter Moody, and David Allen as also on the board. Have MTCC lost three directors since 8 March 2019?

With the above information in mind, here is where MTCC said the donations went:

Cash spent

Contrary to the profession’s requirements, MTCC have not included a cash flow statement in the 2018 Financial Report.


Resources consumed (i.e. accrual)




  • MTC present, on their website, the results of some McCrindle research showing the importance of camps to the church generally.
  • But nothing systematic on MTCC’s impact was found.
  • The terms of MTC’s accreditation with the CMA Standards Council require it to perform regular program evaluations. There is no mention of evaluation on the website.

Please contact me if you need a more in-depth review.









  1. See here for the previous review.
  2. Link added by me.
  3. Emphasis in original.
  4. It achieved this by meeting the Council’s ‘Principles and Standards of Responsible Stewardship’, and therefore is able to be promoted as a ‘high quality organisation
  5. Focus on the nature of the charity’s work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?Is the charity being transparent about its activities? [A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering].
  6. It has three names registered as business names (including Mount Tamborine Conference Centre), but a name it uses, MTCC, is not one of them.
  7. This charity has been overdue with submitting AIS since 31 January 2018 (17 months).
    • There is no such organisation on the ABN register.
    • The link given leads to a seller of domains.
    • ‘History’ on the TLC site shows that it is another name for TLC.One of these other organisatons is TLF (Triumphant Life Fellowship).
  8. ‘When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett says this about sharing the Gospel: ‘A host of contextual issues determine the best manner and the appropriate time to present the gospel verbally, particularly in militant Muslim or Hindu settings. But without such a presentation, it is not possible for people to be personally transformed in all their relationships, which is what poverty alleviation is all about [Kindle Locations 1262-1264, Moody Publishers].
  9. MTC is an incorporated entity, incorporated under The Religious Educational and Charitable Institutions Act of 1861. Although the two most common types of incorporated entities, companies and incorporated associations, are not eligible for ‘basic religious charity’ status (and the consequent concessions), the ACNC says that MTC’s type of incorporation does not disqualify it (email to me from the ACNC). Is this an oversight in the legislation?
  10. To lodge it anyway would have been consistent with its claimed high standards of transparency and accountability represented by its status as a CMA Standards Council ‘partner’.
  11. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/word-image-15.png
  12. Special purpose financial statements do not have to comply with all the Australian Accounting Standards.
  13. The board is accountable to the members of MTCC. The number of members is not disclosed, so we can’t assess the strength of this accountability.
  14. MTCC intend to show the directors on their website but haven’t done it yet.
  15. It would be more helpful if the classification of expenses was not a mixture of the two permissible classifications; for example, are there any employee expenses, depreciation, etc. in ‘Kids project expenses’.
  16. Unfortunately, the ACNC appears to have removed this article: