darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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September 24, 2010

Neighbourhood Houses across Gippsland are attempting to obtain Deductible Gift Recipiency (DGR) status to better access much needed funding from philanthropic and corporate sectors.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said the Association of Neighbourhood Houses and Learning Centres (ANHLC) recently launched a campaign aimed at securing greater eligibility for Deductible Gift Recipiency (DGR) tax endorsement for the sector.

According to the ANHLC ‘fewer than 5% of Victorian Neighbourhood Houses have DGR…primarily because the ATO endorsement process does not allow for the type of services that the sector provides to communities’.

Mr Chester said the ruling means Neighbourhood Houses must undertake direct welfare as a dominant activity, rather than the preventative community engagament activities it currently conducts.

The ANHLC is currently advocating for the inclusion of “prevention” into the Australian Tax Office’s DGR criteria.

Mr Chester said the campaign has his full support, highlighting the important services Neighbourhood Houses offer the local community.

“Neighbourhood Houses are an essential part of our community and the role they play, particularly in rural and regional areas, should never be underestimated” Mr Chester said.

“They offer local residents valuable learning and training opportunities as well as community engagement through social, recreational and educational activities.

“The role performed by volunteers is also an important aspect of Neighbourhood Houses. Many people in regional communities donate their own time through the organisation to work alongside staff to help others.

“Obtaining DGR would be a huge assistance towards helping Neighbourhood Houses to continue to offer important services to our local communities.”

Mr Chester said he has made representations on behalf of local Neighbourhood Houses to the Treasurer in support of them obtaining DGR status.

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