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Wednesday, 25 March 1987
Page: 1526


Mr HURFORD (Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs)(6.57) —The honourable member for Dawson (Mr Braithwaite) sought to make the point during his contribution at the Committee stage of the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax Assessment Bill that these amendments had not been discussed with the industry. I respond by making a much more valid point. These amendments are the product of consultations with the industry. They are in response to what the industry sought of the Government. The Opposition is seeking in this debate, as I assess it, to represent the industry itself in contradistinction to representing the interests of the Australian community. It is blatantly wanting to represent the narrow interests of the industry itself.

If the Opposition wants sensibly to represent the industry it will not oppose these amendments because they are amendments that are designed to help the industry; they are-I repeat-the product of consultation with the industry. It is illogical, therefore, to oppose these amendments. I suggest that the Opposition thinks again about its opposition to these amendments. It may have a view on the Bill as a whole, but it should not in any way oppose these amendments. There is equity in what is being achieved by the Government in this legislation. There is equity in it just as there is equity in the fringe benefits tax and the capital gains tax which were dragged into the debate by the honourable member for Dawson. In this case the honourable member seems to have again overlooked the fact that the RRT, the resource rent tax, is in substitution for other taxes. Rather than destabilise the economic interests that are involved in this particular area, it will encourage them. I commend the amendments to the House.