Catholic Health Australia has welcomed the opposition of Australian Democrats Leader, Senator Meg Lees, to the Federal Government's imposition of fringe benefits tax on the church and charitable sector.
   Francis Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Health Australia, the country's largest non government health care provider grouping, has called for a realistic policy to be applied in the area of fringe benefits for employees of the church and charitable sector.
   He said: "We have always contended that the benefit is for the use of our charitable organisations in order to attract and retain staff. The Government has never justified its position in attacking Church organisations over the use of the FBT exemption. Rather it has clumped everybody into the same basket.
   "We already have extra costs to deal with under the GST, if the Government's FBT policy was passed, wage bills would rise by another 15 per cent, or employees take home pay would drop by up to 10 per cent. Ultimately, the capacity of the church and charitable sector to deliver essential services would be reduced."
Cath Health Australia 27/2/00

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