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Catholic Health welcomes Govt GST pledge

Catholic Health Australia CEO Francis Sullivan has welcomed the Government's stated intention to safeguard Church run retirement units from the imposition of a GST.

Last week, Mr Sullivan expressed alarm at a change of rules that signalled an erosion in the GST-free tax status of Church run organisations.

He said: "It is heartening to see the Government's clarification of this issue and will be doubling reassuring when the details of the legislative amendments are revealed."

But speaking after an announcement by Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer Mal Brough, Mr Sullivan it is essential that legislative amendments reflect this stated policy.

"Clearly the amended legislation must include appropriate measures which deliver a more realistic and reasonable assessment of market value so that Church run facilities are not unintentionally caught up in the GST," he said.

He said that current Tax Office practice is at variance with Mr Brough's assurances.

"As it stands the Tax office is advising some Catholic organisations that they do not fall within the 75% market value test on imputed interest on deposits. This in turn renders the organisations liable for GST. This runs counter to the Government's intention," he said. "We are advised that if this situation remained then at least one development project set to commence would be held back."

Meanwhile Catholic Health Australia has released its 2004 federal election document.

Speaking at the release of the document Mr Sullivan said that CHA has "compiled a series of targeted policies which would improve the fairness of the health and aged care systems and were a combination of the traditional approaches from both sides of the political divide".

"We think the elderly deserve the same extra benefits that are afforded to Veterans," he said. "Likewise, we believe that our private hospitals deserve more certainty in the distribution of health fund benefits. We have devised an innovative and more predictable way in which the benefits of the 30% private health insurance rebate can be delivered to private hospital patients."

GST Free Clarification Welcomed (Catholic Health Australia 13/8/04)
Media Release: CHA Election Document (Catholic Health Australia 15/8/04)

Document: The 2004 Election (Catholic Health Australia 15/8/04)
GST "tax creep" threatens church aged care sector (CathNews 12/8/04)
Catholic Health Australia
Commission urges critical approach to election issues (CathNews 23/7/04)
Queensland religious orders launch Federal Election campaign (CathNews 16/7/04)
Bishops urge vote for the common good (CathNews 2/6/04)
Catholic Justice & Peace Commission, Archdiocese of Brisbane
Australian Political Ministry Network (PolMin)
Australia Votes: Federal Election 2004

16 Aug 2004