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Thursday, 17 September 1942

Senator KEANE (Victoria) (Minister for Trade and Customs) . - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

This measure is complementary to the Entertainments Tax Assessment Bill, 1942, which has already been agreed to, and provides for the imposition of the entertainments tax at the rates set out in the schedule to the bill. There are two scales of rates in the schedule, the lower rate in the second column of the schedule applying to entertainments where all the performers are present and performing and the entertainment consists of a stageplay, a ballet, a performance of music, whether vocal or instrumental, a lecture, a recitation, a music hall or other variety entertainment, a circus or a travelling show. The full rate set out in the first column applies to all other classes of entertainments. The full rate commences at 3d., which is the tax upon an admission price of1s., and increases by 2d. for each 6d., or part thereof, by which the price of admission exceeds1s., to 5s. Thereafter, the rate increases by 3d. for each additional 6d., or part thereof. At 10s., the full rate of tax is 4s.1d. The lower rate of tax set out in the second column of the schedule, which commences at 2d. on1s., represents a benefit of approximately 25 per cent. of the full rate which the Government decided to grant in respect of entertainments in which live artists are employed. One of the reasons of the Government for granting this benefit is its desire to encourage the cultural aspect represented by the stage and concerts giving opportunities to local artists. Another reason is that such entertainments involve much heavier expenses than, say, picture shows.

In granting this benefit, the Government decided to take the rate in the relevant grade to the nearest penny, in order to obviate the drain on the copper coinage which would be caused by taxes involving half-pennies, and also to obviate the difficulties arising at box offices from the necessity to give change it) half-pence. Where the actual calculation resulted in an odd farthing or halfpenny, it has been dropped, and where the fraction amounted to three-farthings, the tax has been taken at the nearest penny. The tax will come into operation, as I have already explained, on a date to be proclaimed. The intention of the Government is that it shall operate as from the 1st October, 1942, andit is anticipated that all State entertainments taxes will cease as from the 30th September, 1942. Suitable arrangements have been made with the State, governments regarding the vacation of this field of taxation. I explained the details of those arrangements when I introduced the bill providing for the compensation payable to the States.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without requests or debate; report adopted.

Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.

Bill read a third time.

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