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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

15 June 2001

CAPITAL GAINS TAX CHANGES ENCOURAGE PRIVATE CONSERVATION


Landholders who want to set aside part of their properties perpetually for conservation will be encouraged to do so with a change to capital gains tax rules announced today.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said the proposed change to the Income Tax Assessment Act will remove or significantly reduce the capital gains tax liability on payments made to landholders to enter perpetual conservation covenants.

"Conservation covenants are a very important part of the Government's approach to conservation on private land, but until now there has been a disincentive for landholders to enter into them," Senator Hill said.

"This change should encourage more landholders to think about how they can help preserve and protect important ecosystems for future generations.

"This change means that perpetual conservation covenants will be treated as part disposal of the underlying land for capital gains tax purposes."

Senator Hill said that while the change was of immediate interest to landholders that have negotiated covenants with the Tasmanian Private Forest Reserve Program it would be of benefit to landholders throughout Australia.

"The tax changes demonstrate the Government's ongoing commitment to working with landholders and the community to conserve important ecosystems on private land," he said.

The amendments will be backdated for the benefit of those landholders that have already received consideration for entering into accredited covenants.

The Tasmanian Private Forest Reserve Program is a major commitment of the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement, and is supported through the Natural Heritage Trust. The $30 million program aims to secure 100,000 hectares of forest.

Of the $20 million allocated to the Program from the Natural Heritage Trust, the Commonwealth has approved $5.1 million, to date, to secure over 10,000 hectares of priority forest.

15 June 2001
Web site: www.environment.gov.au/psg/ppu/index.html
Media inquiries: Belinda Huppatz, Senator Hill's Office: (02) 6277 7640

Commonwealth of Australia