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Friday, 23 November 1979
Page: 2961

Senator Mason asked the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs, upon notice, on 26 September:

Has the Minister decided to establish an office accommodation suite at NRMA House, on Northbourne Avenue, Braddon, Australian Capital Territory; if so: (a) is this suite for the Minister and his staff; (b) what is the rent to be paid for this suite; (c) what is the cost of the furniture and fittings for the office; (d) what is the estimated telephone rental for the office; and (e) for what is the office to be used, and how often will it be used.

Senator Durack - The Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:


(a)   It is intended that the office, when ready, will be used by the Minister and at least three of his staff.

(   b ) $6,600 per annum.

(c)   $4,000.

(d)   In an attempt to keep telephone rental costs to a minimum, equipment has been so organised that lines in the Parliament House office can be switched through to the NRMA office whenever it is occupied. Estimated rental costs for this arrangement are: outdoor lines $ 1 ,320. maintenance of equipment $780.

(e)   The office will be used to conduct ministerial business which will be facilitated by proximity to Departmental officers. It will be occupied whenever parliamentary business allows.

Excise on Low Alcohol Beers (Question No. 2063)

Senator Evans asked the Minister representing the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs, upon notice, on 1 1 October 1 979:

(   1 ) Has the Government considered reducing the level of excise payable on low alcohol beers to provide an impetus to consumption of low alcohol beer in preference to the standard product; if not, what action is proposed to this effect.

(2)   What objections, if no action is proposed, does the Government have to such action, which would both improve community health and reduce the road toll.

Senator Durack - The Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1)   The Government appreciates the concern that has been shown regarding alcohol consumption. While it has taken no decision to reduce the excise payable on lower alcohol beer the matter remains under consideration. The Government also has under study a report of the Senate Standing Committee on Social Welfare which has made recommendations on this matter.

(2   ) In coming to a decision the Government must weigh the revenue loss against the effectiveness of a cut in excise duty in encouraging sales of the product. It is relevant to note that since going onto the market lower alcohol beer sales have been growing rapidly without the aid of cuts in excise duty.

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