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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 23 September 2010) . . Page.. 4511 ..

Firstly I would like to correct Mr Smyth’s understanding of the mechanism in place within

ACT Health in relation to the subject matter of this Question on Notice.

ACT Health is not a registered Public Benevolent Institution and nor is any part of ACT Health.

ACT Health like all ACT Government agencies offers salary packaging to its employees. In addition, following work with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) co-ordinated by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), ACT Health has an entity “ACT Health Public Hospital” endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR).

It is through this endorsement as a DGR that most of the employees of ACT Health are able to salary package and receive fringe benefits tax exempt benefits. This is a capped benefit.

As Mr Smyth should recollect from his involvement with the action that occurred during the Select Committee on Estimates 2005-06, the ATO Office has audited and endorsed the salary packaging arrangements in place for ACT Health.

The Chair of the Select Committee was provided with all relevant documents associated with the application to the ATO and the decision to extend exempt salary packaging in June 2005, and in March 2006 the Chair was provided with a copy of the letter from the ATO that confirmed that we were complying with the Fringe Benefits Tax legislation and that the salary packaging arrangements put in place were correct.

Also in October 2005 a suite of papers were provided to Mr Richard Mulcahy MLA on this matter following a request under the Freedom of Information act 1989.

The functions of ACT Health have not changed in the following years that have caused a change to the approach undertaken for providing access to exempt salary packaging benefits. The functions of the ATO endorsed ACT Public Hospital ‘entity’ include primary and community based services, outpatient services, emergency services, overnight acute inpatient services, same day acute inpatient services, mental health services, population health services, teaching and research, and administrative support functions including human resources, finance, business and infrastructure, internal audit, and information communications and technology. The remaining functions of the Department, and not endorsed by the ATO for exempt benefit salary packaging, are policy, planning, government relations, the office of the chief executive and executive support.

The endorsement for DGR stands and will do so until either the ATO advises of a change to its policy or if ACT Health determines that it should no longer be endorsed.

(1) (a) I do not propose restating the work undertaken in 2004 and 2005 in relation to exempt salary packaging under the DGR endorsement given it has been the subject of detailed scrutiny. The methodology and application process has been audited and approved by the ATO. (b) Attached is the structure approved by the ATO that shows the included and excluded functions.

(2) (a) Of the approximately 5,500 employees eligible to utilise salary packaging with exempt benefits, approximately 3600 employees have elected to salary package. (b)

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