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Wednesday, 24 October 1956

Mr FAIRHALL (Paterson) (Minister for the Interior and Minister for Works) fi 0.28]. - It is true that when the zone allowances were first introduced in 1945 the deduction was fixed at £40 for zone A and £20 for zone B, the ratio therefore being two to one; but honorable members will recall that after the scheme had been in operation for two years the Chifley Labour Government considered that the ratio was quite unsatisfactory and, after a comprehensive examination of the conditions in the area, it was decided that the allowance in respect of zone A should be increased to £120, but that the allowance in respect of zone B should remain at the original level of £20. So, for all practical purposes, the real criterion to be looked at is the lack of relationship, and not that mentioned by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports Mr. Crean).

The Government has reviewed the whole matter again at some length, and has found that some increase in the present allowance for both zones is justified. It has also found that some of the areas at present included in zone B are deserving of a greater allowance than that provided at present, and the result, of course, will be, the transfer of certain areas in zone B to zone

A.   The provisions of the measure accordingly give effect to a 50 per cent, increase in the allowance for both zones. In making these increases the Government has preserved the ratio established by the Chifley Government after its review in 1947. In addition to a 50 per cent, increase in the allowable deductions, large areas at present in zone B have been transferred to zone A. These include a substantial section oi Western Australia, the rest of the area of the Northern Territory and an additional part of Western Australia. So we have given consideration to some of the problems which were raised by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. The Government firmly believes that the measures that we are now taking represent very fair adjustments to the zone allowances and consequently feels that the committee should reject the amendment.

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