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Wednesday, 4 December 1935


Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for External Affairs) [11.33].-- I move-

That the bill be now read a second time.

This bill provides for increasing, by an amount not exceeding £4,500, the sum payable to the State of Tasmania under section 9 of the Wheat Growers Relief Act 1934-1935. Under that act provision is made for the payment to that State, by way of financial assistance, of £4,100 for each month during which a tax is imposed upon flour under the legislation at present in operation. As Tasmania produces only a small quantity of wheat, and the amount required to finance the relief to the wheat-growers in that State was estimated to be comparatively small, this special payment to the State, was granted as a rebate, partly to offset the flour tax collected in respect of flour consumed in Tasmania. The monthly payment of £4,100 was calculated on a basis estimated to represent the difference between the total flour tax that would be collected on flour consumed in Tasmania and the amount required for the relief of wheatgrowers in that State. Under the terms of an act passed by the Tasmanian Parliament, the government of that State has been utilizing the amounts paid to make refunds to millers and others in respect of the flour tax paid by them. The rate of refund was fixed by the Tasmanian Government to absorb approximately the actual amount received from the Commonwealth. It has now been ascertained that the consumption of flour in Tasmania was under-estimated, and that the payment made to that State under the Wheat Growers Relief Act at the rate of £4,100 a month is proving insufficient to enable refunds at the rate adopted by the Tasmanian Government to be continued during the period in which the present flour tax is operative. The Tasmanian Government has made representations for payment of an additional amount. It is estimated that the amount required by that government will be between £4,000 and £4,500, and Parliament is now asked to appropriate an amount, not exceeding £4,500, as may be approved by the Treasurer. If the bill be approved, it is proposed to authorize the payment to the Tasmanian Government of an amount sufficient to meet the actual payments made under the Tasmanian act to which I have referred ; but the amount is not to exceed £4,500.

Debate (on motion by Senator Col lings) adjourned.







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