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ANU seeks payroll tax break after record $50m donation

ANU Vice Chancellor Professor Ian Young.

ANU Vice Chancellor Professor Ian Young. Photo: Rohan Thomson

THE Australian National University sought a $6 million reduction on its 2013-14 payroll tax a month after it received the biggest donation to a educational institution in the nation's history.

The university received $50 million for scholarships from entrepreneur and philanthropist Graham Tuckwell and his wife Louise in February. The donation, the biggest by an Australian citizen to an Australian university, will begin in 2014.

But in his submission to the coming ACT budget process, Vice-Chancellor Ian Young said the university made a significant positive contribution to the economic health of the capital and warned further growth would require infrastructure and more funding.

''The university sector is a major contributor to the ACT economy with an annual input of some $1.6 billion on a recurrent basis,'' Professor Young said.

''It is estimated that some $25,000 per student per annum finds its way into the ACT economy providing an estimated benefit of $625 million per annum.''

At present the university pays $26 million in payroll tax each year and the university is seeking a recurrent $6 million reduction that would total $24 million over four years.

Professor Young said the reduction would enable growth in the university's research.

''Tax relief in the order of $6 million per annum will support targeted growth in the education and research sector and deliver initiatives that result in direct economic benefit to the ACT community.''

He said the university's accommodation requirements were being met by academic colleges but further construction would be needed as part of the university's expansion to 2020 plan.

''We are, however, constrained by available funds to invest in new initiatives that will attract students and academic staff to our local community and its economy.''

The university receives about $658 million from the federal government, and $2 million from the ACT government each year.

Almost 100 submissions were received by the ACT government as part of community engagement with the 2013-14 budget process.

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