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Wednesday, 27 March 1985
Page: 879


Senator HILL —My question is directed to the Minister for Finance. Is it correct, as reported today, that the Minister's proposal for reintroduction of tertiary fees would have returned about $230m a year to Commonwealth revenue? Does yesterday's Caucus rejection of tertiary fees pose a significant budgetary problem for the Government and can the Minister say where he might look to raise the extra revenue?


Senator WALSH —The amount of revenue which would be raised by applying a charge depends obviously on the degree of cost recovery which was sought and the level of exemptions. One can get any figure one likes from that between zero and about $2,000m. There is no precise answer to the first part of the question. As to the second part, obviously there are a number of proposals for reducing expenditure or raising revenue. If some of the options are closed off, the others must be pursued in a more disciplined and rigid way. It is not for me to say at this stage where the alternatives will be found, but given the strong opposition to the charging of tertiary fees expressed by at least four state governments I expect that the States will be willing to take their share of the penalty and the consequences of the policies that they have been advocating.