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Wednesday, 26 October 1910

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - I wish to draw the attention of the Government to what appear to me to be unnecessary words in this clause. In the first line of the proviso it is stated, " provided that an owner of land who, after the thirtieth day of June, but before the thirtieth day of September," has sold or agreed to sell. I think that the words " after the thirtieth day of June " might safely be left out. The proviso would then read, " provided that an owner of land who, before the thirtieth day of September," which appears to be the dominant date. Much as I should like to see a later period fixed, I do not propose to suggest an alteration in that respect. The object of the clause is this: It sets out the date of ownership for the purpose of the tax, and goes on to provide that if the owner has sold or has entered into an agreement to sell before 30th September, although the conveyance is not complete and the actual transfer has not been put through, if the sale is bond fide and not for the purpose of evading payment of the tax, the owner is to be separately assessed in respect of the land in question. The clause has been introduced for the purpose of allowing people who are already in process of subdividing their estates and have made arrangements for sale to secure a measure of relief. That being so, the only date that is relevant is 30th September. The particular date prior to the 30th September on which an arrangement was made to sell makes no difference. It can make no difference whether it was on the 28th or 29th of June, provided no one is permitted to take advantage of the arrangement after 30th September. It is quite a common thing in New South Wales for more than three months to be occupied in getting a conveyance or transfer through. The sole purpose of the clause is to provide that where a transfer is under way the owner shall get the benefit just as if the sale were complete. I do not think that it can be the desire of the Government, or in accordance with the spirit of the clause, to limit the arrangements for the transfer of land which are to be so treated to those which are made between 30th June and 30th September. Therefore, I hope that the Minister will see his way to consent to the omission of the words " after the thirtieth day of June."

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