The National Catholic Education Commission says the proposed reforms outlined by the Productivity Commission in its draft Future Foundations for Giving report are a “direct attack on faith communities”.
“The recommendations of the interim report to reduce the tax deductibility status of building funds is a direct attack on faith communities and would have impacts across education, health and other social services provided by religious institutions,” National Catholic Education executive director Jacinta Collins said.
“If these recommendations proceed, they will impede philanthropy in the religious sector – the exact opposite of the report’s Terms of Reference, which are to double philanthropic giving, not reduce it.
“For Catholic and other non-government schools, it will add a further financial burden on families who contribute to their school education and are already dealing with significant cost-of-living pressures.
“As highlighted in the Gonski review, the Government needs a more comprehensive consideration of school capital than just tax and the Productivity Commission should look for ways to broaden the ability of people to give not to undermine longstanding well established practices.”
Ms Collins said the Productivity Commission did not consult the Catholic education sector on these proposals and the “this surprise move was not foreshadowed in any conversations”, with the most recent being on November 14.
“As the NCEC highlighted in our submission to the Productivity Commission, people of faith are more likely to donate and volunteer and contribute significant amounts to philanthropy – yet the Productivity Commission’s recommendation is a direct attack on recognisable charitable procedures,” Ms Collins.