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Wednesday, 30 September 1936

Senator GRANT (Tasmania) .- L am not satisfied with the explanation of the Minister regarding the exemption of goods used by public transport authorities for the maintenance of transport services. A moment ago the Minister carefully stated that the principal purpose of this measure was avoidance of unfair competition, removal of anomalies and prevention of differentiation. Proposed new item 77 will apply to public transport authorities to the exclusion of private transport companies. This is a distinction between two competitive elements in the community, and as the purpose of this bill is to avoid anomalies it would have been better to omit this provision if the exemption cannot be made general.

Senator Collings - Will it not give some. measure of relief?

Senator GRANT - I do not think that the taxpayer will be relieved; certainly the passenger in .a tram or a motor bus will not be charged less. This amendment makes for differentiation and unfair competition as between public and private transport authorities.

Senator SirGEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia - Minister for External Affairs) [4.58]. - Contrary to what the honorable senator stated this amendment does remove a most definite anomaly. Item 77 at present allows exemption of " tram cars, trolley omnibuses and motor omnibuses (and parts therefor) for use by public transport authorities." The authorities controlling tramway services in Sydney and Perth ai-e government departments which obtain all goods free of tax under the general exemption of all goods for Government departments. Other tramway authorities - these include the tramway authorities in Launceston and Hobart - merely have the benefit of the limited exemption expressed in Item 77. To remove this anomaly the Government in the first instance decided to exempt from the 1st April, 1936, goods for the construction of tramway tracks, overhead wiring and gear necessary for the effective working of tramway systems bv all public transport authorities, and this decision was publicly announced. To avoid adminstrative difficulties .and remove completely the anomaly the Government has now decided to exempt all goods for the exclusive use of public transport authorities. In view of the earlier public announcement and the uncertainty which has existed as to the scope of the intended exemption, it is proposed that the new item shall be deemed to have commenced on the 1st April, 1936.

Senator Grant - But that concession applies only to one form of transport.

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - The honorable senator means that the goods concerned should also be exempted when used by any private transport company or individual.

Senator Grant - I am using the arguments which the Minister himself used. [ say that the proposed new item creates an anomaly. It differentiates between public and private transport systems.

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE.The Government is not prepared at this stage to extend this concession to forms of private transport. The object of this proposed item is to put governmental and semi-governmental transport authorities on an equal footing.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 5 agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Bi'.l reported without amendment; report adopted.

Bill read a third time.

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