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Thursday, 10 June 1915

Senator GRANT (New South Wales) . - I should like to tell the Minister representing the Treasurer that I find it quite impossible, no matter to whomI apply, to ascertain the number of landowners in the Commonwealth whose estates are of less value than £5,000. I have applied to the Land Tax Commissioner, and he has not the information available. I made application in other directions, and have always met with the same answer. There should be no insuperable difficulty in supplying the information.

Senator Russell - Do you want the number, or a list of the individual owners?

Senator GRANT - I do not want the names. I -want the number of individual owners in each State who own land of less value than £5,000, and the total value of their holdings. The Land Tax Commissioner informs us of the number and value of the estates of the value of £5,000 and upwards. Will the Minister instruct him to supply the other information in his next report?

Senator Keating - You can get it through the States or the Statistician.

Senator GRANT - As a matter of fact, it cannot be secured from any of them.

Senator Bakhap - Is not there some information approximating to what you want in theY car-Book of Australia?

Senator GRANT - No. A good deal of information is given on a groat variety of subjects, but on this subject the author has carefully refrained from disclosing the position. The information can be secured when the census returns are being prepared. There is no difficulty in the way of providing an additional column in the census papers in which each person would be required to set out the value of the land held by him. At a later date I will endeavour to see that this is done. But in the meantime the Land Tax Commissioner should be in possession of the information, and that information should be available to the community. It is all very well for us to tax for war purposes land-holders who own real estate in excess of £5,000 unimproved value, but if it can be shown that other persons hold real estate which at present is exempt from Federal taxation, of an aggregate value of millions sterling, it seems obvious that they should be asked to contribute something towards defraying our war expenditure.

Senator Bakhap - They have already been taxed in several of the States.

Senator GRANT - They have not been taxed in regard to their lands. Will the Assistant Minister instruct the Land Tax Commissioner to obtain the desired information ?

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