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Wednesday, 23 March 1994
Page: 2108


Senator COULTER (5.54 p.m.) —Notwithstanding Senator Watson's objections, we will divide on this very important matter. As I understand it—and Senator Watson certainly knows more about tax law than I probably will ever know—those who are now donating land to these organisations are likely to suffer a capital gains tax impost and all this does is provide them with a rebate. Senator Watson's argument could be run the other way. At least what we are proposing gives some encouragement to people who are minded to give land to recognised conservation bodies.

  I briefly draw the committee's attention to a press release which came today from the Australian Bush Heritage Fund, a national conservation organisation. It urges the federal government to support these amendments to the Income Tax Assessment Act proposed by the Leader of the Democrats, Cheryl Kernot, and says that the amendments would enable donors of land to natural heritage conservation organisations to obtain tax deductibility for their donations.

  The press release goes on to point out that there have already been significant contributions of land to this fund. These include 241 hectares of forest in Tasmania adjacent to the world heritage area, and 8.17 hectares of very valuable fan palm forest in the Daintree area of North Queensland. That land is now subject to incredible inroads by way of subdivision and will simply not be available for this purpose if some assistance is not forthcoming. We certainly intend to stand firm on this one and, unlike the other amendments, we will be dividing on it.

  Question put:

  That the amendment (Senator Coulter's) be agreed to.