Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee
Department of Veterans' Affairs
20 November, 2013
Senator WRIGHT: My question is about the previous granting of deductible gift recipient status to the Peacekeeping Memorial Project to 31 December 2014. Can you advise whether this status will be extended past that date and, if it is not known yet, what the time frame for that decision will be?
Major Gen. Chalmers: My understanding is that the DGR status for the Peacekeeping Memorial Project has lapsed in the normal course of events. I am not aware of any decision to extend it or reinstate it.
Senator WRIGHT: My information is that the previous government extended it to 31 December 2014.
Mr Lewis: We will take that on notice. We will make sure we give the correct answer.
Senator WRIGHT: I would like to know whether that is the case. Is it going to be extended or is there some consideration about it being extended past that date? I know that the peacekeepers are very keen because they need that additional assistance, to be able to raise funds for the memorial. If the decision has not yet been made, what would be the time frame, so that they can be aware of that? If it is going to be extended, for what period of time would it be extended, if that decision has already been made?
Mr Hamon: The peacekeepers memorial does have current DGR status until the date you mentioned. It comes with a date-defined listing as a standard practice. That will be reviewed as part of the budget consideration process leading into that financial year—the budget period.
Senator WRIGHT: Is there any process for submissions to be made by interested persons to feed into that consideration?
Mr Hamon: The Australian Peacekeeping Memorial Project committee would write to the minister or to the Treasurer requesting that it be extended or renewed. That would be considered on request.
Senator Ronaldson: It is through until December next year. Ultimately these decisions are made by Treasury, but I can say to you, Senator, that if there is a requirement for it to be extended because extra time is needed for the peacekeeping efforts then I would make very strong representations to Treasury that there be an extension. They might not necessarily take my advice, but you have my assurance that I will strenuously try to extend that if there is the requirement to do so. At the moment we literally do not know whether there will or will not be. It will depend. If the fundraising takes off and they have got all their money, then clearly they will not need it. It is hypothetical to a certain extent, but I am very committed to ensuring that the peacekeepers are given the best opportunity to raise those public funds by using the DGR status.
Senator WRIGHT: Thank you, Minister. That is good to hear. I know that there are strenuous efforts going on, but I think it is highly unlikely that they will have raised the funds they need by December 2014. Thank you for that.