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Wednesday, 24 October 1956

Mr OSBORNE (Evans) (Minister for Air) . - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this brief and simple bill is to raise the existing maximum limit of horse-power of tractors on which bounty is payable under the Tractor Bounty Act. This act at present provides for the payment of bounty on tractors, other than crawler tractors, produced in accordance with certain prescribed conditions for sale, for use. in the Commonwealth or a Territory of the Commonwealth, during the threeyear period which commenced on 24th October, 1955.

Mr Calwell - Would not a tariff be better?

Mr OSBORNE - The Government has decided, on the advice of the Tariff Board, that the proper way to deal with this is by way of bounty.

Mr Calwell - For three years? That is nonsense.

Mr OSBORNE - It is not nonsense to the receivers of the bounty, I can assure the honorable gentleman. The existing rates of bounty rise from £80 to £240 according to the horse-power of the engine. The maximum rate of £240 applies to tractors with a belt pulley horse-power exceeding 40 but not exceeding 55. The bill under discussion proposes the extension of the range of tractors to which the maximum rate applies to cover those having a belt pulley horse-power exceeding 40 but not exceeding 70.

The only manufacturer receiving payment of bounty is Chamberlain Industries Proprietary Limited, Western Australia. This company produces tractors which come within the maximum bounty scale, but has had to restrain the power of the engines used in order to qualify for bounty. It appears better not to limit the power of a tractor when farmers and other users could doubtless, on occasions, take advantage of the extra power which could be made available. The amendment proposed therefore appears both logical and desirable. It has been decided that this amendment should have application to tractors produced from 24th October, 1955 - that is, the date from which provisions of the act were extended for three years by legislation passed earlier this year. I commend the bill for favorable consideration.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Calwell) adjourned.

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