Parents of low-fee Catholic and independent schools would be hit with higher school fees if the Albanese Government doesn’t rule out a radical proposal to scrap tax deductions for donating to school buildings, education leaders say. Source: Daily Telegraph.
The warning follows a draft report by the Productivity Commission that recommends stripping tax-deductible status for “school building funds”, which are used by private schools for capital works.
Since 1954, contributions to school buildings by parents carry a “DGR” — or deductible gift recipient status — similar to donating to other charities, allowing parents to claw back some of the money donated.
But the Productivity Commission says it should be removed, arguing some other charities — such as animal justice and LGBTQ charities that engage in advocacy — cannot claim the same status and that the system is “poorly designed”.
However Catholic and independent school leaders described the proposal contained in the report Future Foundations for Giving as “a direct attack on faith communities” saying they would put low school fees at risk.
Catholic Schools NSW chief executive Dallas McInerney said the recommendation was “a blinkered idea”.
“Catholic Education is an accessible, low-fee option for parents, yet this recommendation would put that very option at risk,” he said.
National Catholic Education executive director Jacinta Collins the recommendation was “a direct attack on faith communities” and her organisation was “extremely disappointed”.
The Productivity Commission will hold public hearings on the issue in Sydney in February, and deliver a full report to the Albanese government later this year.
Assistant Minister for Charities Andrew Leigh said he’d be listening closely to the commentary from charities, donors and volunteers and that religious organisations were “anchors in our communities”.
“The Government will carefully consider their reactions to the Productivity Commission’s report,” he said.
Private school fee cost rise warning for Catholic and independent schools if DGR status stripped (By Clarissa Bye, Daily Telegraph)
Tax deduction curbs ‘an attack on religious freedom’ (Financial Review)