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Wednesday, 24 October 1956

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

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill is to amend the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act 1955 to make provision for freedom from Customs duties of goods imported into Australia from the Cocos Islands, provided that the goods are the produce or manufacture of the Cocos Islands, that the goods were shipped in the islands for export to Australia - that is, that at the time of export the intended destination of the goods was Australia - and that the goods are not of such a nature as would be subject to excise duty if manufactured in Australia.

It will be recalled that the Cocos Islands became a Territory of the Commonwealth on 23rd November, 1955. This amending bill has been designed to operate from that date. Under the existing law, any goods which might happen to be imported from the Cocos Islands would be subject to general tariff treatment, which would be less favorable treatment than applied before the islands became a Territory. Although importations into Australia of goods produced or manufactured in the Territory of Cocos Islands have been insignificant and, in view of the limited scope for economic development of the Territory, are likely to remain so, it appears desirable to make provision for their entry free of customs duty.

Similar provisions to those now proposed have applied for many years in regard to goods imported into Australia from Norfolk Island. I commend the bill for favorable consideration.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Calwell) adjourned.

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