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The Assistant Treasurer, Senator Nick Sherry, and the Hon Bill Shorten MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction, today announced that the Rudd Government will amend Federal tax law to allow the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund to conduct a broader range of charitable and community activities. The amendments to the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 will apply retrospectively from 29 January 2009 and will apply only to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund, giving it extra flexibility to support bushfire‑affected communities as they recover and rebuild. The new provisions will enable the Fund to:
- Provide for long-term assistance to orphaned minors, under the age of 18, without the need for annual assessments;
- provide reimbursements to individuals or organisations for performed eligible charitable activities;
- provide a discretionary payment of up to $15,000 to assist households for the period in which they are in transitional housing;
- provide a grant of up to $10,000 to affected primary producers to use for repair and restoration of farm activities, including re-fencing of properties;
- and establish what is called a ‘look-through provision’ so, if a family has a farm in a trust or company, they will also be eligible for assistance.
For more information see the Assistant Treasurer’s press release.
The Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority has released its six-monthly report into the reconstruction and recovery efforts. The report is available for download from VBRRA’s website.
The 2009 Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission has released its interim report into the February 2009 bushfires. The interim report makes recommendations of measures that could be implemented to make Victoria safer for the next fire season. It is available to read or download from the Royal Commission website.
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