Legislative Council: Thursday, March 21, 2024


Independent Schools Donors, Tax Deductions

The Hon. J.S. LEE (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (15:07): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Attorney-General, representing the Minister for Education, Training and Skills, regarding tax deductions for donors to independent schools.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.S. LEE: The Australian government's Productivity Commission released a draft report that proposed reforms to tax deductible giving. If adopted, this proposal would adversely affect South Australia's faith-based schools in particular, where the vast majority of capital funding comes from parents and donations from the broader school community.

The opposition has been contacted by stakeholders and constituents who have expressed concern at the potential increase in school fees at a time when many South Australians are experiencing high cost-of-living pressures.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! It could happen to anybody. It just happens to the Hon. Mr Wortley all the time. The Hon. Ms Lee, please conclude.

The Hon. J.S. LEE: My questions to the Attorney-General are:

1. What is the state government's position on the Productivity Commission's proposed tax reform?

2. Will the state government ensure our state's faith-based schools are not financially disadvantaged by the implementation of such a measure?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:09): I will be happy to refer that to the education minister in another place and bring back a reply.