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Thursday, 25 May 1972
Page: 2158

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Health)

In a question without notice on 26th April 1972, Senator Townley asked the Minister representing the Treasurer whether a working mother may claim an income tax deduction for costs incurred in having her children looked after during her working hours and, if not, whether the Government will examine this matter. The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

There is no specific provision in the income tax law under which a working mother may be allowed a deduction for all kinds of expenditure incurred by her in having her children minded while she is at work. Depending upon the facts of the particular case, however, she may be entitled to a concessional deduction under the heading of education expenses or under the provision relating to a housekeeper.

If a child is old enough to attend a school at which full-time education is provided, expenses incurred by the mother in connexion with the full-time education of the child at the school are allowed as deductions up to a maximum amount of $400 per annum for each such child. No deduction is allowable where the child attends an establishment which merely provides a child minding service and is not a school providing full-time education.

Under the housekeeper provision, a taxpayer who is a deserted wife or widow may be allowed a deduction of up to $312 per annum if a housekeeper is wholly engaged throughout the year in keeping house for the taxpayer and in caring for a child of the taxpayer less than 16 years of age. If these tests are satisfied during part only of the year, the deduction of $312 is reduced proportionately. A deduction is not available under the housekeeper provision where a person not wholly engaged as a housekeeper is employed merely to mind a child for part of the day or where the taxpayer is a married woman living with her husband.

The question of allowing deductions to working mothers for child minding expenses generally is a matter which will be considered during the preparation of the next Budget.

Senator GREENWOOD-On 22nd February 1972 Senator Hannan asked me in a question without notice about the visit to Australia by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

The Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

Williamson-Edgley Theatres Ltd received a grant of $40,000 from the international tours fund of the Australian Council for the Arts for the Australian tour by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company. This grant was in the form of a guarantee against loss. In the event of the deficit on the tour proving to be less than the $40,000, part or all of the grant would be returned. Any profits on the tour were to be shared by the Australian Council.

I have been informed that the General Manager of Williamson-Edgley Theatres Ltd is Mr Michael Edgley, whohas brought to Australia a number of attractions from the Soviet Union and from other countries.

The international tours fund of the Australian Council for the Arts is operated separately from the funds set aside for the Council's domestic programmes. Had a grant not been provided for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the funds would have been allocated to another international project and not to a regional company. Separate provision is made by the Council for regional companies, and this is one of the most rapidly growing sections ofthe Council's budget.

Council assistance is given to entrepreneurs to allow them to bring to Australia groups of high artistic standing and work of a different kind from that presented by local companies, where the risk factor is greater than the entrepreneur would be willingto carry alone. This policy makes possible visits to Australia by international companies and artists, which Australians would not otherwise have the opportunity to see.

Each request for assistance is considered on its merits and in the light of the funds available at that lime. However, no support is at present contemplated for any Soviet artists visiting Australia.

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