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Wednesday, 6 May 1942


Mr BREEN (Calare) .- I shall deal particularly with taxation of land in the country districts. My information is that there is a triennial revaluation of land in rural areas for taxation purposes. The last was in 1939, since when landholders have had ample time to have claims for re-appraisement heard by the constituted authority. The argument has been advanced that conditions over which the land-holder has no control should be taken into consideration in the reappraisement of the land. It has taken the Opposition more than ten years to discover that land in rural areas ought to be valued on the basis of productivity and capacity to earn a profit. I welcome the introduction of that phase into tin1 debate, because I think that the primary producing land-holder should be considered on the basis of what his land can produce and of the return he obtains from his products. I direct the attention of honorable members to the statistics contained in the Commonwealth YearBooh showing how the values of our primary products have fluctuated lately. The following table sets out in Australian currency, the average values per lb. of greasy wool : -

 

The following table sets out the weighted average price a bushel of wheat: -

 

The following table sets out the average price a bushel of maize : -

 

Wool and wheat are our staple exportable products and they, with maize and the figures .1 have cited in regard to them, represent what has happened generally to our primary industries. If the productivity of the land and the value of the products to the farmer had been taken into consideration in assessing the value of the land, there ought to have been a reappraisement of the land practically every year, but that would have been physically impossible owing to the limitations on the courts and tribunals. The productivity of the land and the value of the product, however, should determine the value of the land. We regard certain parts of the country as the average for the fixation of land values - the two extremes, the far west and the rich coastal strip, are ignored because, apparently, there is no control whatever over the prices that the products command. I maintain that the queer antics of prices of land caused by war hysteria should not be taken into consideration.







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