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Pioneers of Australia Inc: 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Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink. Missions Interlink is ‘the Australian network for global mission’ and a means for a Member to get income tax exemption when it might not otherwise be available[1].

‘Pioneers of Australia’ is one such Member, and an organisation that seeks donations from the public.

Charity response

Both Members and Associates have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

I sent them a draft of this review. They continued their practice of not responding.


Given what Missions Interlink does, ‘Pioneers of Australia’ is probably a charity.

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 charity’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, and
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations

Here’s the results for Pioneers of Australia’[2], with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[3].

1.  With the addition of ‘Inc’, there is a registered[4] charity in that name (Pioneers).

  • The name that it uses for its website (and probably elsewhere), Pioneers Australia, is not a registered business name. Nor is the its name without ‘Inc.”, also used on the website. (It is arguable that PoA’s enabling legislation requires the full name to be used.)

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2.  There is nothing to indicate that Pioneers uses third-party (donation) collectors.


3.   The web address begins with a closed padlock symbol, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above[5]]. There is a ‘Comodo Secure’ logo on the page where you enter your credit card information.


4.   The ABN record says that donations to Pioneers are not tax deductible. Which does not match what is said on the website:

A footnote on this page provides the reconciliation:

Pioneer Ministries Foundation is a separate registered charity. Although controlled by Pioneer[6], its finances are not consolidated with those of Pioneer (for instance, $10.46 million of donations). Not only this, but the directors of Pioneer do not mention of this charity in the Financial Report 2018.

Nor do they mention the other three charities that they control, Action Partners Inc., Asia Pacific Christian Mission (PNG) Inc, and South Pacific Partners Inc.


5.   The use of your donations

As context, here’s what Pioneer says, on the ACNC Register, they do:

And Pioneer Ministries Foundation:

The audited account of how the donations are used is the Financial Report 2018 on the ACNC Register. Within that there are two statements that give information on how the donations were used. But you should first turn to the Notes to the accounts (Notes to the Financial Statements in this case) to check out the ‘Basis of preparation’. This is because there are basically two types of financial statements, ‘special purpose’ and ‘general purpose’, and the disclosure required with the first type is less onerous than the second.

This is what the directors say, for both charities:

So, all the 49 staff, all the donors who together contributed $8.43 million to support missionaries, and all the missionaries around the world who received that money, all these people can ring up the Pioneers office and get a report produced that gives them all the information they need about Pioneer? And then there’s prospective users. Implausible.

The two main consequences are that Pioneer is not required to consolidate Pioneer Ministries Foundation (and its other subsidiaries), and it doesn’t have to disclose information about related parties. Not a helpful set of accounts for anybody with a stake, or considering a stake, in Pioneer.

Here are the directors who thought that this was acceptable accountability and transparency for a Christ-led charity:

Judith Anne Simcoe-Fitzmaurice

Graham Ronald Conway

Jessica Ruth Grosznek

Timothy Malcolm Macready

Timothy Alan Meyers

Timothy Aston Siberman

James Stuart Gow

Graham John Poole

End of review.


  1. See here for our last review.
  2. A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering:
    • 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?

  3. The ACNC implies, therefore, that it is a ‘legitimate’ charity. But this is not correct – as the ACNC itself points out, registration is voluntary.
  4. The ACNC’s information (in its article above) is out-of-date.
  5. The seven Pioneer directors are also the seven directors of Pioneer Ministries Foundation.