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Tuesday, 23 July 1946

Mr Harrison n asked the Treasurer, upon notice - 1.. Is sales tax charged on a net price which includes freight on goods transferred from city wholesale firms to wholesalers in the country which supply retailers and primary producers?

2.   Does this, in effect, increase the freight charges on the goode?

3.   Has he received numerous- protests from country centres to have the Sales Tax Act ' amended to remove' the. tax upon the freight of goods? -

4.   Is it a fact that city warehouses railing goods to the country do not have to pay these charges?

5.   Will he take steps to have this anomaly remedied so that wholesalers in country centres will be placed on an equal trading basis with' city warehouses which send identical goods to the' same country districts?

Mr. CHIFLEY - -The; answers to. the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   Sales tax. is riot, payable on the sale of goods by city wholesale merchants to country wholesale merchants who purchase goods for; resale by wholesale. In such circumstances, the country wholesalers obtain the goods free of tax by. quotation of certificate, and are required to pay tax on their sales of the goods by wholesale, the tax being calculated upon the amount for which the goods are sold.

2.   No.

3.   Representations have been received on this subject at various times during the period of operation ofthesales tax, not only by the present Government but also by preceding governments.

4.   City wholesale merchants do not pay tax at all on their sales to country wholesale merchants of goods for resale by them by wholesale. When city wholesale merchants sell goods to country retailers at a delivered price the tax is payable on the delivered price, but when the sale is on f.o.r. terms, the tax is payable on a price which does not include freight.

5.   The matter has already received consideration by each successive government since the inception of the tax. It is an essential feature of the whole scheme of the sales tax that the tax shall fall on the last wholesale sale of the goods, and shall he charged upon the amount for which the goods are sold. If this basic feature of the law were changed, it would involve the conversion of the' tax from a tax on wholesale transactions into a tax on manufacturers sales only. It is considered impracticable to amend, the law to provide for the payment of tax by country wholesalers' upon any basis other than the price for which the goods are sold by them.

Road-making Machinery.

Mr Lazzarini - On the 19th July. 1946, the honorable member 'for Wide Bay (Mr. Corser) asked me a question about the disposal of lend-lease road-making, equipment. There has been no delay by my department in making lend-lease road-making machinery available to State government departments and local government authorities, which require it for road 'making and other public works. In Queensland, the matter is handled on behalf of the State Government by the Premier's Plant Allocation Committee under the chairmanship of the Deputy Co-ordinator of Public "Works, Queensland. The committeehas had submitted to it a very large quantity of plant,, including many lead-lease items and, although large quantities have been allocated; there are still numerous applications awaiting finality, mainly because the plant which has been offered to the authorities has not yet been accepted by them. Additional plant is coming forward from service departments almost every week, and as this is received by my department it is readily made available to the various

States. I can assure the House that there is no. delay on the part of the Commonwealth Government in the allocation of lend-lease and other equipment to the States for ultimate disposal. As a matter of fact, my department would like to see the surplus equipment taken up more readily by State instrumentalities, but this is entirely in the hands of the State authorities. I suggest that the honorable member refer the Associated Chamber of Manufactures, Queensland, which complained of delay in the allocation of lend-lease plant, to the chairman of the State Allocation Committee with a view to expediting any cases which may have been brought to notice.

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