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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 3389

Mr CONROY (Charlton) (13:30): Recently, I met with trustees of the Dunsdon Foundation: Col Roach, John Quinlan and Bruce Baylis, who are constituents in my electorate. The Dunsdon Foundation is a trust which was set up after the tragic death in July 2009 of Mark Dunsdon, who was raising four children alone, who at the time of his death were all under 10 years of age. They are now being raised by their grandmother, Carole Dunsdon.

The generous community donations to the foundation were invested and the interest has provided important assistance to Carole and the boys towards expenses including tuition fees and recreational activities. This financial help is vital to the boys' lives. Unfortunately, the foundation has found itself the unintended victim of changes to the low-income tax offset.

After 1 July 2011, the LITO of $1,500 was removed on unearned income by minors from discretionary trusts, dividends, interest, rent, royalties and other incomes from property. The foundation is seeking amendments to the income tax assessment act regarding the LITO to give the Commissioner of Taxation discretion to make a ruling that the act does not apply in the circumstances of the boys.

I have written to the Treasurer, requesting the government investigate making these changes. This is not a partisan political issue. The changes to the LITO were necessary to crack down on tax avoidance. The distributions to the boys are not large, but the high tax rate of 45 per cent applying results in a relatively large reduction in the amounts which can be distributed. The foundation is seeking a sensible change to the act, due to an unintended consequence in the current legislation. I fully support these suggested changes.