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Subsidised housing disputes



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TREASURER

® I V ] B ARGO

RELEASE NO.//5

STATEMENT BY THE TREASURER,. THE HON. JOHN HOWARD M.P.

SUBSIDISED HOUSING DISPUTES

Suggestions in this morning's Australian Financial

Review that the Government has rejected a compromise offer

in the Queensland miners dispute are quite misleading.

I also reject claims that the Federal Government wishes

"to be seen as winner" in the dispute.

The Government has consistently sought a proper .

settlement of this matter. It remains the only party

in the dispute which has made concessions, given

ground and made realistic offers in an endeavour to

find a basis for settlement. 4 . . .

I was not personally aware - nor was any other member

of the Government - of the proposal discussed in

Brisbane yesterday between representatives of the

unions and Mr. Keith Brigden, Second Commissioner

of Taxation, until after their discussions had taken

place. .

I had, of course, been aware that Mr. Brigden was going

to Brisbane and had readily agreed that he should be

available to respond to any questions and provide any

explanations.

./2

2 .

According to my report, the proposal made by the

leaders of the mining unions was that a portion

of the miners regular salary should be renamed a

housing allowance and on that basis the Taxation

Department would have been expected to ignore the

fact that the subsidised housing had been provided -

and therefore not levy any tax on it. .

It was pointed out to the union representatives -

as is quite apparent - that such an arrangement

does not in any way alter the real position.

The miners would still receive the same amount each

week and would still have the subsidised housing.

I have been informed that once the matter had been

discussed and the impact of the proposal clarified

the union leaders agreed that under the existing

law the proposal was not a practical solution.

CANBERRA

27 August 1980