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Thursday, 1 July 1937

Senator BRENNAN (Victoria) (Assis tant Minister) . - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

Under the Primary Produce Export Charges Act 1935, levies are made on apples and pears exported to the United Kingdom and the Continent. The amounts derived from this levy are transferred to the Australian Apple and Pear Export Council, and provide its funds for the various operations which it conducts on behalf of the apple and pear industry, such as advertising overseas, organization of exports, and negotiations with other dominions for the purpose of ensuring orderly marketing of Australian apples on the United Kingdom and other overseas markets.

A further point in regard to this levy is that, by limiting it to apples and pears shipped to the United Kingdom and the Continent of Europe only, some difficulty might arise in the negotiation of commercial treaties with other countries. It might be alleged that differentiation is being made between exports to certain destinations and those to other destinations. Having in mind all these circumstances, the Australian Apple and Pear Export Council has advised the Government that it is desirable to apply the existing export levy of3/8d. a case to all apples and pears exported from the Commonwealth. This will place all our exports on the same footing, and will obviate any suggestion of differentiation, clause 3 of the amending bill now before the Senate gives effect to this recommendation.

In connexion with the exemption of certain products from the charges imposed by the Primary Produce Export Charges Act, the Attorney-General's Department has advised that it is not possible under the present act to exempt small quantities of any particular commodity affected by the act, nor quantities which are subject to special circumstances. It is desirable that some minimum should apply in regard to the quantities on which levies might be collected. Furthermore, there are certain shipments which are not really the kind of exports on which levy for advertising should be collected. These include ships' stores, which, it is considered, are legitimately entitled to exemption from the charges. As it is not possible under the existing, act to allow exemptions of the kind mentioned, clause 4 of the amending bill provides for the repeal of the relevant section in the original act, and for the substitution of a clause which will permit the Governor-General to exempt any kind of primary produce to which this act applies from the charges imposed by or under the act.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.

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