The Wyatt Benevolent Institution Incorporated (Objects) Amendment Bill

Second Reading

I am pleased to introduce The Wyatt Benevolent Institution Incorporated (Objects) Amendment Bill 2020. The Wyatt Benevolent Institution Incorporated is a significant philanthropic and charitable organisation providing assistance to thousands of needy South Australians each year. The institution was founded in 1881 with the objects of carrying out the trusts of the will of Dr William Wyatt. In 1935, the institution was continued through enactment of The Wyatt Benevolent Institution Incorporation Act 1935 to provide for its ongoing incorporation and to make provision for the administration of the institution.

However, the qualifications contained in the objects of the act and Wyatt Trust reflect the circumstances of the 19th century and have caused difficulties for the institution. The objects refer to assisting 'persons above the labouring class' and persons of 'good moral character'. Delineating people by class and making subjective judgements of character in order to decide whether to provide assistance are not in keeping with contemporary values and standards.

The institution requested that amendments be made to modernise the act and ensure that it can maintain its deductible gift recipient status for the purpose of the commonwealth Income Tax Assessment Act 1997. The bill broadens the objects of the act so that it applies to all people in poor and needy circumstances and removes the out-of-date references to class and moral character. It provides greater flexibility to the institution in managing its funds and making grants.

The institution has four priority areas: employment, education, financial wellbeing and housing. In the 2018 financial year, the institution made grants of $3.4 million, partnering with more than 80 partner groups to deliver support and assistance to over 5,000 individuals. The institution has granted over $50 million in funds over its history.

Like other charitable trusts members may be aware of, some of which are under the umbrella of the statute of this parliament, we acknowledge and appreciate the support that they give to so many South Australians. The amendments in this bill will enable the institution to continue to assist many disadvantaged South Australians. I commend the bill to members, and I table the explanation of clauses.

Debate adjourned on motion of Mr Brown.