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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4385

Mr ARMITAGE (CHIFLEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I preface my question to the Treasurer with a reference to a report of proceedings in the Bankruptcy Court earlier this year revealing that Australian residents used a sham company set up in Norfolk Island to avoid taxation, and also to my quests of 11th March last year to his predecessor suggesting that taxation was being avoided in this . way, with which his predecessor agreed.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I .suggest that the honourable member ask his question.

Mr ARMITAGE - 4 ask the Minister: What is the position regarding the inquiries into this matter which his predecessor stated on 11th March last year were being carried out?

Mr SNEDDEN - The honourable gentleman has every right to be concerned about this matter. I am also concerned about it. There is a difficulty involved here in that the Norfolk Island administration and the Norfolk Island people feel very strongly that companies should set up there because this provides considerable revenue for Norfolk Island. My colleague, the Minister for External Territories, naturally enough is concerned for the interests of the people of Norfolk Island. For my part I am very concerned that Norfolk Island, which already shows promise of becoming a very considerable tax haven, should not be allowed to develop in that way, for if it does it will only enrich some companies and add a considerable burden to the taxpayers of Australia. The consequence is that I have had a thorough investigation of this matter made by the Taxation Office and Treasury officers. As a consequence I have a paper of considerable size, containing very many pages, which has been submitted to a committee of Ministers who deal with tax matters. Unfortunately it has not been possible, to consider the report of the investigation within the last week or two, but that committee will be called together as soon as possible, for the purpose of reaching conclusions about it so that it can be recommended for the consideration of the Government.

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