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

TAX CHANGES A BOOST TO CONSERVATION AND HERITAGE


28 March 1999
(16/99)

Organisations working to promote conservation and protect Australia's heritage will be big winners from the Coalition's new tax initiatives according to Federal Environment Minister Senator Robert Hill.

Senator Hill said he expected the range of tax incentives announced by the Prime Minister on Friday would see more people donate land and property with high heritage and conservation values to eligible non-profit organisations.

"Gifts of property with a market value of more than $5,000 to approved conservation and heritage groups will now be income tax deductible regardless of when the property was acquired," Senator Hill said.

"Previously the land or property had to be owned for less than 12 months to be eligible, which was a major disincentive to anyone considering donating for conservation purposes.

"A capital gains tax exemption will also now apply to gifts bequeathed from deceased estates which is another positive step towards encouraging more private donations that will ultimately be enjoyed by future generations," Senator Hill said.

"The Government recognises the need to support those in the community who wish to protect areas of great heritage or environmental significance.

"These measures provide an opportunity for more land of high conservation value to be set aside, resulting in increased protection of species and habitat."

Senator Hill said the tax incentives would be particularly valuable in prime agricultural areas where there are limited remaining tracts of remnant bushland.

"Many farmers have shown they are keen to see these parcels of bush conserved, but up until now the tax laws did not encourage such donations and it was difficult for conservation groups to acquire the land because of its high value," Senator Hill said.

Media contact: Rod Bruem 04 1112 85 82
(16/99)

Commonwealth of Australia