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Wednesday, 14 October 1931


Mr FORDE (Capricornia) (Minister for Trade and Customs) . - I move -

That in addition to the duties collected in accordance with -

(a)   the schedule to the Customs Tariff 1921-1930 as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff proposals ; and

(b)   the resolution introduced into the

House of Representatives on the nineteenth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and thirty, imposing special duties of customs or that resolution as subsequently amended ; and in lieu of the primage duty specified in the resolution introduced into the House of Representatives on the tenth day of July, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-one, there be imposed on and after the fifteenth day of October One thousand nine hundred and thirty-one, at nine o'clock in the forenoon reckoned according to standard time in the Territory for the Seat of Government, ad valorem duties of customs (in this resolution referred to as primage duty) at the rates hereunder set out on the undermentioned goods which are entered for home consumption on and after the said fifteenth day of October One thousand nine hundred and thirty-one, except such goods as are hereunder specified as being exempt from primage duty -

1.   Goods exempt from primage duty -

(a)   goods covered by items 368, 370, 371, 372, 373, 400, 401, 409 and 423 of the Customs Tariff 1921-1930 as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff proposals;

(b)   agricultural and horticultural seeds not covered by any item in the Customs Tariff 1921-1930;

Bibles, and the New Testament; bullion and specie; bags sacks packs and bales for bran, chaff, potatoes, onions, coal, corn, flour, sugar and wool; calico and hessian for use in the manufacture of bags of a size capable of holding at least fortyfive pounds of flour; fruit wrapping paper admissible under item 334 (c) (2) of the Customs Tariff 1921-1930; manures and fertilizers; materials for use in the manufacture of agricultural horticultural and viticultural spraying preparations; materials for use in the manufacture of cornsacks floursacks and other sacks ; nitrate of soda, for use as a fertilizer or in the manufacture of fertilizers ; potash, for use as a fertilizer or in the manufacture of fertilizers; outside packages and outer coverings, including the sole containing package, containing solely goods exempt from primage duty; radium ; rock phosphate; and sulphur ;

(c)   any other goods which are from time to time exempted from primage duty by Proclamation made by the Governor-General with the advice of the Federal Executive Council and published in the Gazette.

2.   Goods subject to primage duty at the rate of four per centum ad valorem - (a.) goods covered by items 174, 219 (n), 404 and 415aof the Customs Tariff 1921-1930 as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff proposals ;

(b)   books and periodicals imported for public libraries; calcium cyanide; cream separators; fibres for use in the manufacture of binder twine; fuel oil and coal consumed in Australian waters; goods for public hospitals; newsprinting paper; outside packages and outer coverings, including the sole containing package, containing any goods subject to primage duty at the rateof four per centum ad valorem but containing no goods subject to primage duty at the rate of ten per centum ad valorem; potassium cyanide ; power kerosene; rock salt; sheep shearing machines; soda ash, caustic potash and causticsoda, for fellmongering purposes; sodium cyanide; stud stock; and vessels exceeding 1,000 tons gross register ;

(c)   any other goods which are from timeto time, by Proclamation madeby the Governor-General with the advice of the Federal Executive Council and published in the Gazette, added to the list of goods upon which primage duty at the rate of four per centum is imposed.

3.   Goods subject to primage duty at the rate of ten per centum ad valorem -

(a)   All goods whatsoever, which are not, in pursuance of the foregoing provisions of this resolution -

(i)   exempt from primage duty; or

(ii)   subject to primage duty at the rate of four per centum ad valorem.

That where by this resolution any goods are exempt from primage duty or are subject to primage duty at the rate of fourper centum ad valorem, on the condition that those goods will be used for a purpose specified in relation thereto in the resolution, the ComptrollerGeneral of Customs may require security that those goods will be used for the purpose so specified.

That in this resolution " Customs Tariff Proposals " means the tariff proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the twenty-sixth day of March, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-one, and includes any amendment of such proposals and any tariff proposal introduced into the House of Representatives subsequent to that date.

This motion is designed to give effect to the Government's desire to remove certain disabilities under which primary producers have been labouring, because of the imposition of primage duty on bran, onion, potato, and ore bags. These goods are being added to the list of goods exempt from the payment of primage duty. Under the primage resolution of the 10th July, 1931, such bags were specially included as being subject to primage duty at 4 per cent., and the most convenient way to give effect to the Government's intention is to table a new resolution. Under the provisions of this motion " bags, sacks, packs and bales for bran, chaff, potatoes, onions, coal corn, flour, sugar and wool " will be exempt from primage duty.

Following on a recent decision of the Government, Bibles and the New Testament have also been included in the list of goods exempted from primage duty.

The opportunity is also being taken to include in the resolution the variations made by proclamation to the resolution tabled on the 10th July, 1931. The following minor alterations have also been made to give better effect to the intention of the previous resolution: - The words " agricultural, horticultural and viticultural " have been added before " spraying preparations ", and the word " sheep " has been inserted before " shearing machines." Apart from these additions and exceptions the resolution is similar to that previously tabled.

The primage duty was increased to 10 per cent. on the recommendation of the experts who were consulted in connexion with the financial rehabilitation plan agreed to at the Premiers Conference.


Mr Paterson - Some of the experts recommended the increase, but not Messrs. Pitt and Strutt.


Mr FORDE - Practically all the experts agreed to this recommendation. The Government expects to receive £4,250,000 in additional revenue in the current financial year through the imposition of the extra primage duties, but if the numerous requests made for exemptions were acceded to, there would be practically no increase in revenue. Every day new applications come to hand f orexemptions from this duty of articles upon which the taxation is at present being collected. The Government's experience in regard to primage duty has been similar to that in regard to sales taxation. Everybody can make out a good case for the exemption of the particular lines which he handles, but the exigencies of the financial situation are such that, although sympathetic consideration has been given to all the requests made for exemptions, many of them have had to be rejected. I regret to have to inform honorable members that no additional exemptions can be granted.

If the Government is to honour the undertaking given by the Prime Minister and the Treasurer at the Premiers Conference, it must insist on the resolution being agreed to in its present form. The line' of demarcation between goods exempt and other goods is no doubt somewhat arbitrary, but it is necessary to adhere to it, otherwise there will be a serious diminution of revenue.

Preliminary matter postponed -

1.   Goods exempt from primage duty - (a).....

(b)   agricultural and horticultural seeds hot covered by any item in the Customs Tariff 1921-1930.







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