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Tuesday, 21 August 1906


Sir WILLIAM LYNE (Hume) (Minister of Trade and Customs) . - I do not know whether the last paragraph in the resolutions was accepted by mistake or not. I refer to spirit for fortifying Australian wine, which is subject to a duty of 6d. per gallon. Previously, the Excise duty was1s. per (gallon, and toy proposal was that this spirit should be made free, subject to regulations, on the understanding that the charge for supervision should not exceed 6d. per gallon. I understand that the cost of supervision would amount to about £2,000, and if this provision were struck out, I should have power under the Excise Act to frame a regulation providing that spirit for fortifying Australian wines should be free, and that the actual cost of supervision, which would not amount to more than 4d. per gallon, should be paid by the vignerons.


Mr Watson - A duty of 6d. per gallon will not seriously affect them.

SirWILLIAM LYNE.- I wish the Committee to clearly understand the effect of the decision which was arrived at last week. Under it the vignerons are to pay a duty of 6d. per gallon for this spirit.


Mr Storrer - -And they are willing to pay it.


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I do not know about that, but I do know that there is no wine made in Tasmania.


Mr Storrer - I am speaking, not from the point of view of Tasmania, but in the light of the statements that were made last week, during the debate which took place in the absence of the Minister.


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - It is not my desire that the vignerons should be charged more than is absolutely necessary, and. in my opinion, it is unnecessary to impose a duty of 6d. per gallon'. A proportion of thatduty will go into the consolidated revenue.My desire - and the Prime Min ister sought last week to give effect to it - was that the spirit should be free, subject to regulations, and that the charge for supervision should not exceed 6d. per gallon. It may be said by the leader of the Opposition that there would be some difficulty in collecting the Excise, and I repeat that if this item were struck' out altogether, and my proposal were adopted, the cost of carrying out the regulation would amount to about £2,000 per annum. I do not intend to move an amendment, but I wish to place the facts before the Committee. Honorable members must not forget that under this schedule a duty of6d. per gallon is imposed.


Mr McCay - Instead of a charge amounting to 4d. per gallon, as suggested by the Minister.


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The cost would not exceed 4d. per gallon, but I am advised that, as a rule, it would be less than that.


Mr Higgins - The recommendation of the Commission was that a duty of 6d. per gallon should be imposed.


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - That is so; but I think it isunwise to take from the producers more than is absolutely necessary.


Mr Watson - What would be the percentage of this duty to the total cost of production ?


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The ComptrollerGeneral informs me that the total loss to Australia involved in the cost of supervision would be £2,000 per annum.


Mr McCay - Then a duty of 6d.per gallonwillrepresentacostof£3,000in respect of the whole of Australia?


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The duty of 1s.pergallonyieldedarevenueofsomething like £12,000, so that if the total cost of supervision amounted to £3,000 per annum, a duty of 3d. instead of 6dper gallon would be sufficient. If in the light of the facts I have placed before them, honorable members still think it undesirable to depart from the decision arrived at last week, I cannot be blamed for the imposition of a charge or duty which is twice as much as I think ought to be imposed.







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