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Wednesday, 16 March 1977
Page: 300


Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I want to take a few minutes to raise a matter which has come before the House in the form of petitions during the current session of Parliament. In addition this matter has been referred to the Treasurer (Mr Lynch) on numerous occasions. I am concerned about the disadvantage experienced by people who reside in the perimeter areas of cities especially and also by people who live in country towns when they incur expense in connection with the removal of sullage. Many people in my electorate who live on the perimeter of Sydney, some 20 or 25 miles from the city, incur many disadvantages. They pay a great deal of money in fares to travel to their employment. They do not always enjoy the amenities provided by local government in that their roads are often unsealed and they are without kerbing or guttering, or whatever it is called in the various States. In addition to those kinds of disadvantage they have to rely on sullage removal service. In many instances, because of the terrain of the country- a sandstone geological formation, for example- there is no alternative to a sullage service.

Members of the National Country Party would probably be interested to know that many of the people whom they claim to represent are affected by this matter. I remember that before the decision was taken by the Labor Government to instal sewerage in Katherine- I do not contend that the National Country Party represents the people in Katherine- sullage removal was a very great and expensive issue indeed. We have ascertained that those people who incur all these additional expenses and who pay through the neck for the removal of sullage, which often is the removal of toilet effluent and sometimes even bathwater and sink water, are unable to claim the expense incurred as a tax deductible item. In completing a tax return, anybody else, of course, who sought the $1,350 deduction would put together a number of different claims, including claims against insurance, rates and medical expenses, education expenses and the like. Of course, they can make a claim of up to $300 in regard to rates and in respect -


Mr Bourchier - It used to be more until you fixed that up.


Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) -That is what it is now. That is what it is 14 or 15 months after the election of a Liberal-National Country Party Government. So if an anomaly does exist it is obviously time that the Government took it up. Honourable members opposite cannot go on blaming the Labor Government forever. But the honourable member cannot short circuit me on the matter that I want to raise because it is very important to many thousands of fringe dwellers around this country. The Treasurer, through the Taxation Office, is saying: 'We will not in fact concede any claims in this respect until the local government authorities are able to assess annually the amount of the sullage cost claimed'. Of course, the councils cannot assess annually because the amount involved is in respect of a particular volume of disposal a month or a week over a period of time.

Obviously there is a communication problem between the Government and the local government authorities. It is a simple matter. They say that they cannot assess annually. But it is a ridiculous situation in which these people continue to be disadvantaged year in and year out. Thousands of people are signing the petition to which I referred. The campaign is gathering very great momentum. It ought not to be necessary to go to such trouble to correct such an apparent anomaly and injustice. I put it the House tonight in the hope that the Treasurer will take notice of the fact that this is one outstanding matter which is very greatly in need of remedy.







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