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Tuesday, 19 September 1972
Page: 898


Senator WEBSTER (VICTORIA) - Has the attention of the Minister representing the Treasurer been drawn to the increasing number of public companies which are having their final, accounts qualified by notation of auditors due to insufficient provision for depreciation being made in their published accounts? Does the Minister recall my raising with him previously the matter of qualification of final accounts of companies which do not include provision for depreciation of freehold buildings? Does the Minister acknowledge the wisdom of this requirement by public auditors? Will the Treasurer have re-evaluated the attitude of the Commissioner of Taxation towards depreciation provisions so that approval might be given to public and private companies making such a provision and allowing depreciation of freehold properties as a deduction from assessable income for tax purposes?


Senator COTTON - I remember the previous question which the honourable senator asked, but it was not asked of me because at that time I was not the Minister representing the Treasurer. I am familiar with the circumstances to which the honourable senator has referred and have read with some interest the qualifications on accounts which have been made by some auditors. I have read also with interest the observations of the chairmen of companies on the auditors' qualifications. I think some of Australia's leading companies - companies of great probity and substance - have had their accounts qualified. Therefore, one would have some reservations about whether or not the auditors were necessarily correct. I am not prepared to give an opinion on that; there is a difference of view in depreciation areas. All I can suggest to the honourable senator is that I will raise his query, which is a rather long one, with the Acting Treasurer and seek an answer for him.







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