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Wednesday, 7 December 1927

Senator OGDEN (Tasmania) .- I wish to refer to the development of the gold-mining industry in the Mandated Territory. There is no doubt that the Edie Creek gold-field will be one of considerable dimensions. Most of us are aware that mining is one of the greatest aids to development in any country. A large amount of gold may be won from this field, but it must be properly developed and exploited. At the present time, access to it is very difficult. I hope that the Government will adopt every measure to improve the means of communication, even if it should cost a quarter of a million pounds to put down a road.

I do not agree that the administration of the territory is all that it might be. In my opinion there is room for considerable improvement. This impression was gained during my recent visit. The chief source of revenue is a tax upon exports, principally copra. There is a business tax which brings in a revenue of between £16,000 and £18,000 a year. There was also an income tax, but for some unaccountable reason it was repealed. Therefore, only one section pays direct taxation. No matter what salaries they may receive, the members of the administration pay no direct taxation.

Senator Sir George Pearce - They pay through the customs.

Senator OGDEN - The only person who pays direct taxation is the unfortunate native.

Senator Sir William Glasgow - The planter pays the export tax.

Senator OGDEN - The reason assigned for the repeal of the income tax was that it was too costly to collect.

Senator Payne - It realized only £800 per year.

Senator OGDEN - Whether the revenue derived is great or small, everybody should pay in that way. The Government should definitely lay it down that there must be an income tax. Contrary to the generally accepted tenets of taxation, a native who is not in work is required to pay a direct tax to the administration, whilst one who is in work is not expected to pay ls. It is a reflection upon the administration that an official who receivss a salary of £1,000 or £2,000 a year should not be asked to contribute to the revenue, and that the natives, who do all the work, should be taxed to the extent of 10s. a year.

Senator Payne - I challenge the honorable senator to name one highly-paid public servant there.

Senator OGDEN - The Administrator receives a salary of £2,800 a year, and many others are paid from £800 to £1,000 a year. The rich Chinese who make fortunes and take them to China, contribute only in a small degree, not according to their actual earnings.

Senator Payne - They pay on the turnover, whether they make a profit or not.

Senator OGDEN - The fairest way to tax a business that returns a large income is by way of income tax. I am opposed to a tax upon exports because it penalizes industry and the people who are developing the country.

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