Primary ethics: Changed tax status creates level playing field

Primary ethics: Changed tax status creates level playing field

Primary Ethics and St James Ethics Centre are delighted with Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury’s announcement that providers of ethics classes will be given the same tax deductions as for scripture classes, alleviating the threat of the lessons becoming financially unviable.

The federal government will amend tax law to expand the DGR categories to include organisations approved by state or territory governments to provide ethics classes in public schools as an alternative to special religious education classes.

St James Ethics Centre has established Primary Ethics as the only approved provider of ethics classes in Australia. Its 800 volunteers currently organise and teach ethics classes to about 8,000 students in 200 New South Wales schools. It is estimated there are more than 80,000 students still waiting for ethics classes to become available.

Bruce Hogan, chairman of Primary Ethics, praised the foresight demonstrated by the federal government in agreeing to change the tax law.

“This change will allow Primary Ethics to approach donors who, until now, have been unable to fund Primary Ethics, as they may only support organisations with DGR status,” he said.

“With their support, we will now be able to continue to grow towards our target of 4000 volunteers and build the infrastructure needed to implement our current strategy to extend Primary Ethics’ reach into Western and South Western Sydney and across regional New South Wales. Of course the new law is not confined in its effects to New South Wales. This will be welcomed by hundreds of thousands of children and their parents right around the country.”

Dr Simon Longstaff, Executive Director of St James Ethics Centre, acknowledged Mr Bradbury’s announcement as a superior outcome. “This is a reform of genuine national importance; a reform that eclipses the narrower request originally made by Primary Ethics,” he said.

Both organisations acknowledged the work done by many in bringing about this excellent result – especially that of parents4ethics, led by David Hill, and all the parents and volunteers who support Primary Ethics.

“This is a wonderful outcome for Australian children,” says Mr Hogan.

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