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Wednesday, 30 November 1938

Mr CASEY (Corio) (Treasurer) (5:10 AM) . - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

For an explanation of this bill, I refer honorable members to my speech on the resolutions dealing with the rates of the tax, which preceded the introduction of the flour taxing bills with which this bill is to be incorporated. In my speech on the resolutions, I did not draw pointed attention to the proposed commencing date of the tax, so far as it applies to flour and imported goods manufactured from flour. The commencing date proposed is Monday next, the 5th December, 1938.

The selection of that date was due, in the first place, to the desire of the Go- vernment to bring the legislation into operation upon the earliest date possible, having regard to the time reasonably required for the passage of the legislation, and, in the second place, to the desirability of commencing the tax upon the date most suitable for the important task of checking and collecting tax on stocks of flour held by bakers, storekeepers and like persons at the commencement of the tax.

In carrying out this task on previous occasions, the Commissioner of Taxation found it essential to arrange with the Postmaster-General's Department to enlist the services of official postmasters in country districts. Owing to the anticipated rush of Christmas mail, those services would not be available to the Commissioner if the commencing date were later than the 5th December, 1938.

It is not expected that the initial rate of the tax will be declared before Saturday, because the rate will depend upon the recommendation of the Wheat Stabilization Advisory Committee which cannot be constituted until the Wheat Industry Assistance Bill has been passed and assented to.

The Commissioner of Taxation has made publicity arrangements which will ensure that the rate of tax will either be notified to, or ascertainable by all persons concerned by or before Monday next.

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