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Tuesday, 8 May 1973
Page: 1750


Mr MARTIN (BANKS, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is directed to the Treasurer. By way of preamble I refer to the recently announced decisions to abolish subsidies to companies searching for oil and to eliminate tax concessions on mining shares. Has the Treasurer seen the article in today's Australian' headed 'Decision will put companies out of business' and implying that Australian exploration companies will be put out of business? Is this so? If not, can the Treasurer explain the intention of the proposed legislation?


Mr CREAN - The action has been taken after the most careful consideration. We have found that over a period of years those taxation concessions given to so-called private enterprise have cost revenue $250m. Currently, if continued, they would run at an annual rate of $50m. Of course, one has the predictable and often primitive reaction from those who claim to believe in both privacy and enterprise about cutting off what is nothing but a government subsidy. It is the belief of the Government that we can use public funds better perhaps for those purposes and for other purposes than to give it indiscriminately in this particular direction. The other unfortunate thing about it is that here again is an example of something ostensibly given to benefit genuine exploration being perverted by shrewdies in the game simply to dodge taxation. It is for that reason that the concessions have been taken away. We believe that a sum as vast as the amount involved can be better used for other public purposes, or perhaps the Government could even decide directly which areas of oil exploration and mineral research it will pursue for itself.







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