Following an announcement by the Government in the 2021-22 Mid-Year Fiscal and Economic Outlook, Treasury is calling for submissions around the introduction of a new category of Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) fund – the “Pastoral Care Services Fund.”   

At this stage, it is proposed that the new DGR category will be limited to funds only and will exist to support “pastoral care and analogous wellbeing services delivered to students in Australian primary and secondary schools”. 

The new category of DGR promises to allow those organisations which provide pastoral care and wellbeing support services in schools a simpler mechanism to receive tax deductible donations and apply them directly to those qualifying services. 

The Consultation Paper available on Treasury’s website sets out the three “key design elements” which may form the basis of the eligibility criteria for achieving DGR endorsement under this new category.

These elements are:

  1. A DGR category for funds operated by an Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) registered charity or Australian government agency. 
  2. The fund must be established and maintained solely to support the activity of delivering pastoral care services to Australian primary and secondary school students. 
  3. The provision of pastoral care must be delivered by an appropriately qualified worker whose predominant purpose and function is to provide pastoral care to students in a school environment.

The Consultation Paper explains that new category would not allow the fund to apply money towards:

  • Services to people who are not Australian primary and secondary school students. Students in pre-school and approved curriculum-based learning institutions will qualify.  Where the recipients of the services are not primary or secondary school students, but instead in formal childcare, after school care, tertiary institutions or Sunday schools, the criteria will not be met. 
  • Services outside of a school environment. The proposed criteria require there to be some nexus with a school, for the purposes of excluding entities or individuals that support student wellbeing independently from a school.
  • Services provided by teaching or other staff whose “predominant purpose and role” is not the provision of pastoral services.

 The Consultation Paper does not seek to categorically define the term “pastoral services.”  It states that “the ordinary meaning of pastoral care services in the context of school students refers to the provisions made to advise students about personal wellbeing and their moral and ethical concerns”. Existing chaplaincy and pastoral care workers under the National School Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) may provide services which qualify under the new DGR category.  Other wellbeing services may also be eligible.

The Consultation Paper provides that “Pastoral care services” will not, at this stage, extend to providing clinical assessment, diagnosis, or treatment of students, or formal case management of students’ health concerns, or to ‘ordinary religious services’, (although this phrase is not defined).

Submissions in response to the Consultation Paper close on 29 April 2022.  The Consultation Paper can be accessed from the Treasury website:  Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) category for pastoral care services | Treasury.gov.au   

 

 

 

 

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