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Wednesday, 24 October 1956


Mr WENTWORTH (Mackellar) . - I support the remarks of the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney) in regard to the taxing of the pay of members of the Citizen Military Forces. I wish to say no more than that I feel that his argument is right, and should be supported.

Clauses 1 to 11 agreed to.

Clause 12-

Section seventy-nine A of the Principal Act is amended -

(b)   by omitting from sub-section (2.) the words " Twenty pounds " (wherever occurring) and inserting in their stead the words " Thirty pounds ".

Mr.CREAN (Melbourne Ports) [10.251- - I move -

That the words " Thirty pounds " be omitted with a view to inserting in place thereof the words " Ninety pounds ".

The concessions in respect of zone A and zone B which the clause, as it stands, proposes to alter were, as mentioned earlier to-day, initially fixed at £40 for zone A and £20 for zone B - a ratio of two to one. The concession of £40 was later increased to £120, but no alteration was at that time made to the £20 concession. The clause seeks to increase the £120 concession - the concession that was originally £40 - to £180, and to increase the £20 concession to £30. The Opposition believes that the original ratio of two to one should be restored, particularly as it applies to certain parts of Tasmania and Western Australia. I outlined this afternoon, to some degree, the reason for the amendment that I have moved, and I indicated that the areas of Australia affected are remote from normal channels of transport: People in the western part of Tasmania have to depend for their communication with the rest of the island on roads which are difficult to negotiate and which are subject to the depredations of adverse weather. The freight charges paid by people in those areas impose a considerable hardship upon them, ft seems to us to be ridiculous to increase the concession in respect of those areas by only £104 to £30. I point out, in passing, that the concession does not mean that these people receive a tax rebate of £30. but merely that they may deduct £30 from their taxable income. The average taxpayer pays a rate of between 3s. and 4s. in the £1. and the net additional saving to the individual taxpayer will be between 30s. and 40s. a year. This is a ridiculously small concession, and I suggest that the Government should revert to the two-to-one ratio between zone A and zone B. This ratio would be restored if the zone B concession were fixed at £90 and, at the average rate, would represent a total saving of from £13 10s. to £18 a year to the taxpayer.

I have said that people who live in the areas affected feel that it would be more progressive and more realistic if the Government were to give them the benefit of freight subsidies, which would lower the cost of goods purchased by them. However, the Government has chosen to alter the zone allowances instead, and I am now directing attention to the petty nature of the alteration as it affects taxpayers in zone B. We do not suggest that, even if our amendment is accepted, the resulting concessions will be ideal, but at least some measure of justice will thereby be given to taxpayers in zone B.







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