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Wednesday, 18 March 1936

Senator E B JOHNSTON (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - I ask the Minister in charge of Territories whether the attention of the Government has been drawn to the statement of Mr. F. H. G. Simcocks, an accountant in the Treasury at Rabaul, reported in to-day's Canberra Times, that the Treasury officials of the mandated territory of New Guinea are concerned in regard to the excessive amount of revenue which is pouring in and do not know which tax should be most reduced in order to dispose of some of the funds which have accumulated? Is it a fact that a duty of 10 per cent. is charged on all mining machinery, including Australian, imported into the territory, and that a royalty of 5 per cent. is charged on all gold produced in it? Will the Government suggest to the administration that the desire of the treasury officials to reduce the revenue might be met by affording some relief to the gold-mining industry ?

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - I have seen this unauthorized statement which merely expresses the personal opinion of an official, and does not bear the authority of the Administrator, who is the only official in the territory possessing any right to make such a statement. In reply to the second portion of his question,I inform the honorable senator that representations have been made to me as to the alleged inequitable nature of the existing tax on gold produced in the territory. In fulfilment of a promise that I made, I am at present conducting an investigation into the allegation, to see whether a more equitable form of taxation can be devised.

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