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Thursday, 25 October 1956

Sir ARTHUR FADDEN (McPhersonTreasurer) . - 1 think it is advisable to give honorable members the history of the zoning system as a basis for the discussion of this matter. When the Chifley Government introduced the zoning system Tasmania was entirely excluded from consideration. It was only as a result of strenuous representations by Dame Enid Lyons that Mr. Chifley, as Treasurer, agreed to include a defined area of Tasmania in zone B.

Mr Calwell - The present Treasurer should now be as considerate.

Sir ARTHUR FADDEN - I have not removed any part of Tasmania from zone B. 1 merely followed the excellent precedent that Mr. Chifley established. This Government is extending zone A. Representations have frequently been made for the inclusion of King Island and Flinders Island in zone B, for which purpose the honorable member for Braddon (Mr. Luck) has proposed the amendment. In season and out of season the Labour government and its Treasurer rejected such representations. There is no formula or set of conditions according to which zones are determined. In accordance with the principles laid down by the Labour government, which set the precedent that I follow, special factors such as weather, living conditions, and transport difficulties are taken into consideration. In this bill the Government proposes not only to increase the allowances applicable to both zone A and zone B, but also to extend and re-orientate, as it were, the boundaries of zone A.

Any member of this Parliament can advance an argument for special taxation allowances for a certain zone. When this. Government came to power originally, I. with the approval of the Government, established a taxation advisory board. I obtained the best taxation advice that was available at the time. All the arguments that had been advanced to the previous Treasurer, and to me, with regard to zone allowances for King Island and Flinders Island, were placed before that board, but the board did not recommend that the zone concessions then existing should be extended, although they took into account the representations that were made on behalf of the residents of those islands. I am as certain as I can be that if the Government had not generously increased the zone A allowance by 50 per cent., this argument for an extension of the allowance to King Island and Flinders Island would not have been raised.

This whole matter has been considered and re-considered by the Government. There are many remote areas of Australia, the residents of which have a sounder claim for zone concessions than have the people of King Island and Flinders Island. My information is that King Island is served regularly by air transport and shipping, and that there are satisfactory telephone communications with Tasmania and Victoria. Both islands have self-contained communities, with educational and hospital facilities. If we open the door to claims of this kind by altering the zones along the lines suggested, honorable members can imagine the number of claims that will be received from all over Australia.

Mr Calwell - It all depends on how far the door is opened.

Sir ARTHUR FADDEN - We have opened it much wider than did the Government with which the honorable member for Melbourne was associated. We have not only increased the amount of the zone allowance, but we also have increased the area of zone A. I am quite prepared to have another look at this question, but only on an overall basis, in the form of a general consideration of the zoning system. As a matter of plain fact, the board to which I have referred, which is now defunct, suggested that we should adopt a more scientific approach to the question of zone allowances. I am not adamant on this matter. As I say, J am prepared to undertake a general reconsideration of the zoning system.I believe, however, that it would be unwise to open the door merely for the sake of granting the claims of the residents of King Island and Flinders Island, while totally ignoring the implications in other directions. I am prepared to reconsider generally the zoning system as introduced by the Labourgovernment and continued by this Government.

Mr.Calwell. - What about reducing taxe generally?

Sir ARTHUR FADDEN - If the Deputy Leader of the Opposition can show how that can be done, we will do it.

Question put -

That the amendment (Mr. Luck's) be agreedto.

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