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Wednesday, 3 April 1957

Mr McMAHON (Lowe) (Minister for Primary Industry) . - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The main purposes of this bill are to effect several administrative changes in the control exercised by the Department of Customs and Excise in relation to the protection of the revenue on beer. One of the clauses of the bill will eliminate what is considered to be an unnecessary form of control over beer transferred from one brewery to another prior to the final payment of duty. Present legislation obliges brewers to affix printed " permit " forms to each vessel so transferred. It is proposed to dispense with " permits " and rely on cart-notes, which are prescribed as basic documents so far as all deliveries of beer are concerned. Effective control will in no way be diminished, and the department and brewers will be relieved of unnecessary paper work.

This bill provides also for an amendmenof the principal act which will make it mandatory for a licensed publican to cut the beer duty stamp affixed to any vessel which he sells to a person not licensed to sell beer by retail. Practical and legal difficulties have been experienced under the present law which gives the publican an option to cut the stamp at the time of sale or when the vessel is opened. The bill also introduces provision similar to that incorporated in the Excise Act and the Distillation Act, in 1952, whereby collectors of customs were given the legal means of claiming the duty due on excisable goods and spirits not satisfactorily brought to account by the person responsible for their control or custody. The amendment proposed extends the same principle to beer, and is necessary, as this commodity is dealt with by an act of Parliament separate from those dealing with spirits and other excisable goods.

A further amendment proposed by the bill is on parallel lines with legislation contained in the Distillation Bill of 1956 dealing with spirits. This amendment relates to circumstances in which a brewer's licence is cancelled or expires and is not renewed. The Department of Customs and Excise will be given the power in these cases to deal with beer, subject to duty, which remains on brewery premises. However, collectors of customs may, if necessary, dispose of such beer only under the conditions specified in the proposed amendment.

The bill also contains several drafting amendments and provides for the omission of certain references to amounts of licencefees and securities which have since been prescribed in regulations. I present the bill for the favorable consideration of honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Pollard) adjourned.

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