Senator Wright asks questions about deductible gift recipient (DGR) status for the Australian Peacekeeping Memorial Project during an Estimates hearing for the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee.
FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DEFENCE AND TRADE LEGISLATION COMMITTEE
WEDNESDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2014
Senator WRIGHT: My first question concerns program 3.1; it is about deductible gift recipient status for the Australian Peacekeeping Memorial Project. I am following up on answers given in the supplementary budget estimates hearing in November last year regarding DGR status for the Australian Peacekeeping Memorial Project. In that hearing, Minister Ronaldson confirmed that the projects DGR status will expire on 31 December this year. However, the minister stated that, if there is a requirement for it to be extended because extra time is needed for the project's efforts, he would make strong representations to Treasury that there be an extension. The minister stated:
... I am very committed to ensuring that the peacekeepers are given the best opportunity to raise those public funds by using the DGR status.
I emphasised in that hearing that my understanding was that the project was highly unlikely to raise those funds by December of this year, and I understand from those involved with the project's committee that this remains the case. So I am interested to know what plan there is to consult with the Australian Peacekeeping Memorial Project committee during this year to ascertain whether its DGR status needs support in extending. Also, has the minister made any representations in support of extending this status?
Major Gen. Chalmers: If I can take your question in part, you have asked what plan there is for consultation. Major General Tim Ford, who represents the peacekeepers project, and I have met and will continue to meet and discuss the project, their progress in fundraising and their need for DGR status. It is true to say, however, that in this case the ball is in their court. They need to apply-we cannot do this for them-to the Treasurer for an extension to their DGR status. We can assist them with providing advice, but the fact of the matter is that it is a matter for the Treasurer. They need to put the application in. Once there is an application in play it will be subject to the Treasurer's decision-making processes.
Senator Ronaldson: I am seeing Mr Ford next week. I am assuming there will be a request from him for support for an extension. If he asks for my support as Minister for Veterans' Affairs, while I will not be making the decision, I am very happy to support that very strongly, if that is the wish of the committee.