New DGR Category for Pastoral Care Services – Government Consultation

Submissions are now open for the Australian Government’s request for feedback and comments in relation to the implementation design of the new deductible gift recipient (DGR) category relating to pastoral care services. This follows recent Government announcements about the new DGR category to be established for the purpose of supporting pastoral care services delivered to students in Australian primary and secondary schools. This will improve the ability of entities providing pastoral care services in schools to raise funds by offering tax deductibility to donors. It will also enable entities to receive distributions from public and private ancillary funds.

What is the Government’s proposal?

The Australian Government currently provides significant support to pastoral care services in schools through its National School Chaplaincy Program. The proposed DGR category will supplement support already provided by the Government by encouraging greater private funding of these pastoral care services.

The proposal includes the following key features:

  • the ordinary definition of pastoral care would be adopted. This broadly involves the provision of wellbeing support services to students facing challenges related to stress, relationships, managing emotions, bullying, and health and lifestyle issues.
  • pastoral care services could be delivered by both religious and non- religious providers but would not include ‘ordinary religious services’. Pastoral care services would also not include most health services such as clinical assessment, diagnosis, treatment or formal case management of students’ health concerns.
  • the new DGR category would operate in a similar manner to a school building fund (whereby a school or other entity can establish a fund into which tax-deductible donations can be made and the donated money can then be used only for the purpose of the fund). The fund would need to be operated by a registered charity or be a registered charity in its own right.
  • the fund would solely support the provision of pastoral care services in primary and secondary schools in Australia (in both government and non-government schools) as well as pre-schools and approved curriculum-based learning institutions. Pastoral care services could be delivered via group-oriented programs or individual sessions.
  • use of the fund would not extend to the provision of pastoral care services in tertiary institutions, Sunday schools, after school care programs and childcare services.

What can you do?

Further details and the full consultation paper can be accessed via the Treasury’s website. Key stakeholders are encouraged to carefully review the proposed design, including the proposed wording of the various elements that would constitute the new DGR category, and to respond to the prompts and questions that are contained within the consultation paper.

Submissions are open until 29 April 2022.

How we can help

Moores can provide more information or guidance regarding any of the above, including support to submit a formal response.

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