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Tuesday, 29 September 1942

Mr BREEN (Calare) .- An effort has been made by several honorable gentlemen to create a false impression concerning the intentions of the Government of New South Wales in connexion with its proposed land tax. The honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Spooner) and other honorable gentlemen opposite have suggested that the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) should bring pressure to bear upon the Government of New South Wales to prevent it from imposing land tax. I point out that the purpose of the tax is not to raise revenue for ordinary governmental needs, or to impinge upon financial resources that should be available to the Commonwealth Government for war purposes. I make a comparison between the imposition of customs duties for the purpose of protecting industry and the imposition of a land tax for the purpose of encouraging closer settlement. It is a common thing for the Commonwealth Government to provide a bounty for the encouragement of industry. The Government of New South Wales is proposing to do something that will encourage closer settlement. The proceeds of the proposed State land tax are to be placed in a fund to be used to acquire large estates for subdivision for closer settlement. That is a policy that should be encouraged.

Mr Fadden - How does the honorable member know that?

Mr BREEN - I am not subject to cross-examination by the Leader of the Opposition in respect of what the Government of New South Wales is doing. I am making a statement upon information that has been broadcast by the Premier of that State, and by various speakers on behalf of the Government that he leads. The honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) stated that tremendous revenue was derived by the Government of New South Wales from its transport system. Both that Government and the Commonwealth Government have expended on the transport system large sums that are not producing any revenue. A fund that contains no finance could not provide sums for the purpose which the honorable member regards as meritorious, but not practicable at the moment. In a letter addressed by Mr. Cecil Hoskins, general manager of Australian Iron and Steel Limited, to' Mr. Dunstan, secretary and executive member of the Development and Information Bureau of the Government of New South Wales--

Mr Abbott - Is it confidential?

Mr BREEN - Yes. But most of what is said in this Parliament is partly based on confidential information imparted to honorable members. When the information was conveyed to me, I was not asked to regard it as confidential; consequently, I consider that it ought to be made the property of this Parliament. At a discussion in Sydney between the general manager of the Australian Iron and Steel Limited and Mr. Dunstan, mention was made of the sum of £3,000,000 that had been expended by the Commonwealth Government and the Government of New South Wales on the transport system of that State.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Prowse).Order ! The honorable member must connect his remarks with clause 11.

Mr BREEN - I am endeavouring to do so. A false impression was given to honorable members by a statement of the honorable member for New England, and I am attempting to correct it. A government that had expended £3,000,000 in assisting the war effort of the nation by placing its transport system on an orderly footing would not be able to draw from that source a very large amount with which to give effect to a policy that the honorable member for New England regards as laudable. I hope that I have disabused the minds of honorable members of the idea that the Government of New South Wales is deliberately encroaching on preserves which at present are the inalienable right of the Commonwealth.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 12-

After section seventy-two of the Principal Act the following sections are inserted: - "72b. - (1.) Expenditure incurred by the taxpayer in the year of income for the purpose of protecting from hostile action by the forces of any country with which His Majesty is at war -

(a)   any persons employed by him for the purpose of gaining or producing assessable income; or

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