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Thursday, 5 December 1974

Mr CONNOR (CUNNINGHAM, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Minerals and Energy) -The impact of the New South Wales legislation to which the honourable member refers is directed primarily against the major centres of Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong. Its effect is tapered in respect of other parts of the State and therefore it is wholly and in fact grossly discriminatory. It is taxation of the worst possible type. In fact, in many respects, New South Wales is being taken back to the early days of the postFederation era. The tax will be equally destructive in its impact upon manufacturing industry and other forms of economic activity.

If we were considering this matter in terms of political advantage only we would leave the New South Wales Government to its own devices and the wrath of the people of that State. Instead, there is a very real need for the national Government to have a look at the whole situation. For a considerable number of years there has been doubt in legal circles in New South

Wales as to the validity of liquor registrations in respect of the hotel system and whether it was not in fact a disguised excise duty. Similar considerations could be applied to this tax on petrol and fuel because although it is allegedly a registration licence which is based upon the sales of petrol and similar products, in point of fact it is very very close to being an excise duty. In fact. 1 have asked the Attorney-General to examine the matter in that regard. For the future the people of New South Wales can look to being wholly disadvantaged. We have a situation where the major State of Australia which makes the greatest contribution to Australia's economy will have the worst possible impost placed upon it.

Mr McMahon - What do you want them to cut down- health services and education?

Mr CONNOR -The right honourable member for Lowe is well aware of the impact of that State. The whole of his Party is resentful about it but is not prepared to do a thing. It is a case of asking his fellow conspirators in New South Wales to do something for the people of that State.

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