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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
10 December 1999
In an extraordinary decision last night, the Labor Party and Australian Democrats joined to vote down a major Government initiative to encourage the donation of land for nature conservation.
The Government had put to the Senate legislation which would have allowed the value of land donated for nature conservation to be tax deductible and also capital gains tax free if it was bequeathed in a will.
"This was the single most important initiative ever undertaken by a Federal Government to encourage landholders to contribute property to the national reserve system and for nature conservation generally," Senator Hill said.
The Democrats had sought to extend the incentives further, which the Government was not prepared to do at this time. The Government has offered to seriously consider and cost the additional proposals in the new year.
"Rather than accept this important initiative put forward by the Government, Labor and the Democrats combined to defeat the Bill.
"An historical opportunity has been lost," Senator Hill said.
"Short term political opportunism has defeated a major incentive to landholders to contribute to nature conservation. The environment will be the loser," Senator Hill said.
Media contact: Rod Bruem (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364