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Wednesday, 10 November 1976

Mr MALCOLM FRASER - The honourable gentleman has put forward an interesting suggestion; but I think he has overlooked the thrust of my remarks, which was that increases in payroll tax and changed arrangements in relation to workers compensation had added very greatly to the charges that had been placed upon companies, in particular the Mount Lyell mining company. If the honourable gentleman looks at Commonwealth company tax, for example, he will find that over a period- and in part during the period when he was sitting on the other side of the House- it was reduced from 47 per cent to 42 Vi per cent. The Treasurer will correct me if I am wrong. But at a time when there had been a reduction in Commonwealth imposts- at least in that regard- there were very considerable increases in State taxation.

The message needs to be understood that, in a situation in which a State ended a year with a $4m surplus on its revenue account and $ 17m on its loan account, it cannot just go along and believe that the consequences of its actions will have no impact upon the industries within its locality. The policies pursued by the Tasmanian Government have very clearly had an impact upon the fortunes of industries within Tasmania. Despite the very marked contribution to Tasmanian industrial development and trade that this Government has introduced through the freight equalisation payments and the general policies of the Government there are still continuing difficulties in Tasmania. That is recognised. What we are saying is that quite clearly the Government of Tasmania could make a much greater contribution to the wellbeing of industry in Tasmania if it had a will to do so. I think everyone in this Parliament knows and, by this time, nearly everyone in Tasmania knows that Mr Neilson came to Canberra yesterday in part to lay the groundwork and to do what he can for a State election. It has been made quite plain that what he is involved in is the preparations for an election and the people of Tasmania should well understand that.

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