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Wednesday, 11 August 1926

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon J Newlands (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The honorable senator isdigressing from the subject-matter of the bill.

Senator GRANT - The petrol tax will provide only a small portion of the money required for road construction.. If the States are unwilling to make their own roads, or are incapable of doing so, we' should adopt a proper basis of taxation for the purpose. I regard the bill as an effort to limit the use of motor cars and motor lorries. Does the Government desire to abolish motor traction and return to the conditions obtaining in the dark ages? Surely the manufacturers, importers, and users of motor vehicles are rendering a service to the community. The taxes and fees already extracted from motor owners are almost sufficient to pre-, vent people from purchasing oars. Although the petrol tax may assist in the work of road construction, it is an unfair impost on motor users. I have sufficient faith in the business acumen of the oil companies to believe that they will pass the tax on to the consumers.

Senator Crawford - They know better than do that.

Senator McHugh - They could stop our industries in a week.

Senator GRANT - Of course. All efforts made to increase the output of the Commonwealth Oil Refineries have been more or less thwarted. Although three shifts are being worked at Laverton in order to duplicate the plant, the output is not more than 6,000,000 or 7,000,000 gallons per annum, and it is estimated that Australia's annual requirements have increased to 120,000,000 gallons.

Senator Needham - There are not sufficient " C.O.R." agencies in the various States.

Senator GRANT - That is so. I hope that the measure will be defeated.

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