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Thursday, 8 September 1960

Mr TURNBULL (Mallee) .- Although there are many matters with which I could deal, I want to mention one very important matter that comes within the scope of this proposed vote. I have advocated for a long time that donations to the Murray Valley Development League should be deductible from taxable income. I believe that the Prime Minister and Acting Treasurer (Mr. Menzies) is very well aware of the aims of the Murray Valley Development League. It is a non-profit organization which should receive every possible assistance from this Government. Shire councils and city councils along the Murray are supporting strongly my advocacy on behalf of the league, which, as its name suggests, aims to develop the very fertile Murray Valley.

Some little time ago I asked the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) the following question: -

Is the right honorable gentleman aware of the aims of the Murray Valley Development League and its great importance to Australia? Will he consider providing that donations to this league be allowable deductions for taxation purposes?

The Treasurer replied -

I must confess to knowing only in a general way the public-spirited objectives of the Murray Valley Development League.

He went on to say that the question would be considered. I take the opportunity to-night to put this question to the Acting Treasurer, who knows, not in just a general way but in a personal way - because of his association with the Victorian Parliament and with development generally in Australia - that the Murray Valley Development League is very valuable to Australia. It seeks to bring about conditions that will promote greater production, greater export trading and greater income to the Commonwealth. I believe that this Government could profitably allow donations to this league to be deductible from taxable income.

The secretary of the shire of Gordon, in a letter to me, has said that the finances of the league are made up of contributions by local government bodies, but it is felt that if the Federal Government were to treat gifts to the league as deductions from the taxable incomes of the donors, individuals and corporate bodies would contribute to the league funds and thus extend its field for still greater development in one of the richest producing areas in the Commonwealth. That statement is supported by the city of Mildura, the shire of Kerang and the shire of Swan Hill. I believe that these representations should favorably impress the Acting Treasurer and the Government. Leaving everything else aside for the moment, I concentrate on this matter and ask the Acting Treasurer to give it further consideration.

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