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Thursday, 21 May 1970


Dr PATTERSON (Dawson) - The principal purpose of this Bill, which is a machinery Bill, is to allow the repayment to growers of excess moneys which have accumulated in the Canned Fruit Excise Fund because of administrative delays in effecting a reduction in the excise levy on canned deciduous fruits. This Bill relates to the operations of the Australian Canned Fruits Board, which engages in promotional activities throughout the payment of market development allowances for the promotion of Australian canned deciduous fruits in overseas markets. A rate of excise is imposed on defined varieties of deciduous fruits and these moneys are paid into the Canned Fruit Excise Fund. The objective of this fund is to promote the export marketing of canned fruits. This is done principally through the payment of market development allowances and, at the same time, by engaging in constructive promotional activities in various markets overseas. The rate of excise was originally 30c per dozen 29 oz cans. After an agreement was made with the United States of America the rate was reduced to 5c per dozen 29 oz cans.

After the agreement the payment of the market development allowances with respect to the export of canned fruit was discontinued. They were discontinued, as the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Anthony) mentioned in his second reading speech, from 1st January 1969. When they were discontinued the Board recommended that there should be a reduction in the levy. This of course took some time to put into effect. It was not until 31st March, approximately 3 months later, that the machinery to finalise the reduction was swung into action. This meant, in effect, that surplus moneys were being held in the Canned Fruit Excise Fund. The decision of the Government and the purpose of this amendment is to refund a proportion of that excess money to the producers. That is the principal objective of the Bill.

The Bill is more limited than the one we spoke on this afternoon, soI suppose that means I have to spent less time on it than I spent on the one this afternoon - and that was pretty limited, too. The Opposition has no objection to this Bill. The principles contained in it are sound. There has been an overpayment of excise by producers, and the Government is now refunding to the producers the amount of this overpayment. The overpayment came about because of the cancellation of market development allowances following an agreement between the United Stales of American and the Commonwealth Government.







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