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Thursday, 24 February 1977

Mr SHORT (BALLAARAT, VICTORIA) -My question is directed to the Treasurer and follows the very welcome measures of assistance announced last week by the Government for the victims of the recent disastrous bushfires in western Victoria. My question relates to the method of taxing expenditure on replacement of fencing and other essential property items on farms, particularly where the fencing and property are insured. Is it a fact that a farmer who has had fencing destroyed in the fires and who receives insurance payments to cover the fencing is required to include those insurance payments as taxable income in the year of receipt? Is it also a fact that the farmer can depreciate the replacement cost of the fencing at only 4V4 per cent in the first year of replacement? If the answer to both those questions is in the affirmative, is the Treasurer aware of the tremendous financial difficulty that replacing destroyed fencing will impose on the farmers, particularly given that boundary fencing is an essential requirement on properties carrying livestock? If that is the situation, will the Treasurer take immediate steps to examine the matter with a view either to altering the method of taxing insurance receipts for fencing destroyed by the fires and/or permitting a full write off in the year in which the expense is incurred for replacing fencing so destroyed?

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