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Tuesday, 8 May 1984
Page: 1749

Senator REYNOLDS —I address my question to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Is the Minister aware that general purpose goods used as aids for the handicapped are not exempt from sales tax? For example, a recent case that comes to attention involves the purchase of a micro-computer for use by a severely handicapped child at a cost of $4,800, of which $1,100 was sales tax. Can the Minister report on any review of this situation so that disabled people requiring general purpose goods may receive some consideration for exemption where there is a recognised need?

Senator WALSH —I can remember variants of this question being asked a number of times before in Parliament. It is a problem that the previous Government recognised, and this Government recognises it. However, there are difficulties in resolving it. As far as I am aware there is no specific review under way on this issue, but I will seek advice from the Treasurer on that. In a sense, all tax policies and taxation rates are under review when Budgets are put together. In that very general sense, therefore, I suppose that the question will be under review within the next couple of months. But I will see whether the Treasurer has anything to add to what I have said and, if so, I will pass it on to Senator Reynolds accordingly.