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Thursday, 31 October 1974
Page: 2201

Senator Baume asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security, upon notice:

(1)   What is the establishment of the Social Welfare Policy Division of the Department of Social Security.

(2)   When were these positions first advertised.

(3)   How many of them have been filled.

(4)   What positions in the Division in each level of the Public Service remain unfilled.

(5)   ls the strength of the Social Welfare policy division of the Department adequate to enable it to function efficiently.

Senator Wheeldon - The Minister for Social Security has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(   1 ) The establishment of the Social Welfare Division of the Department of Social Security is: . ,


(2)   The position of First Assistant Director-General and the two positions of Assistant' Director-General were first advertised on 5 July 1973; 24 positions (marked with an asterisk) were first advertised on 27 September 1973; the 4 positions of Clerical Assistant have not been advertised.

(3)   Of the 27 positions advertised, 23 have been filled.

(4)   The following positions remain vacant:


The positions of Cadet Social Worker are presently unstaffed but are being retained until a review has been completed of the need for these training positions.

(5)   The Social Welfare Division is currently being reviewed to ensure that adequate resources arc available to undertake its functions of implementing, researching and evaluating the Social Welfare initiatives and policy of the Government.

Flooding in South Australia

Senator Wriedt -On 17 September 1974, Senator Davidson asked me a question, without notice, concerning flooding in South Australia. The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

I am aware of reported statements by the Leader of the Opposition in South Australia concerning likely severe flooding along the River Murray. The potential flooding has been discussed between officers of the Australian and South Australian Treasuries. I understand that no requests for physical or financial assistance have been received from the State Authorities. However, the Australian Government stands ready to provide technical and financial assistance in the way usually followed when natural disasters occur.

Fuel Shortages

Senator Wriedt -On 17 September 1974, Senator Maunsell asked me a question, without notice, about the steps the Government was taking to ensure supplies of diesel fuel and gasoline were available to maintain the sugar harvest in Queensland and for the imminent harvesting of the State 's wheat crop.

I have now been advised by the Minister for Minerals and Energy that in addition to the recent release from defence stocks of 1 50,000 gallons of distillate in Cairns to assist with the sugar harvest, in a further effort to help primary producers, the Army has greatly curtailed an exercise it planned to conduct in Queensland thereby making additional fuel supplies available.

The Minister also advises that his officers have emphasised to the oil companies the urgency of making supplies available to the grain industry in Queensland and it does appear that the companies are endeavouring to distribute supplies as equitably as possible.

An additional factor which must improve the situation is that the Amoco refinery in Brisbane which earlier in September was not producing distillate due to a plant breakdown was able to resume full throughput for distillate on 18 September. Also, the Shell Company has been able to arrange, and obtain a permit for a foreign flag tanker to carry products to Townsville and Mackay.

Capital Gains Tax

Senator Wriedt -On 19 September 1974, Senator Webster asked me a question, without notice, concerning capital gains tax. The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

It should first be noted that the introduction of a capital gains tax was recommended by the Taxation Review Committee in its Preliminary Report which was released with the Budget documents and which is available to all interested members of the public from the Australian Government Publishing Service.

Secondly, a supplementary statement was released with the 1974-75 Budget documents setting out in broad terms the framework of the proposed tax on capital gains. Copies are available on application to the Taxation Office.

Thirdly, it may be worth mentioning that No. 10 in the series of Treasury Taxation Papers, the publication of which commenced some weeks ago, is devoted to the topic of Capital Gains Taxes. This paper, which comprises the views put to the Taxation Review Committee by the Treasury last year, is presently scheduled to appear in the latter half of November.

As to the substance of the matter, the Australian taxation system is based primarily on the concept of the capacity of an individual to pay tax. Capital gains constitute an increase in ability to pay in somewhat the same way as increases in income in the form of wages, salaries, interest, dividends and rents. It has therefore been anomalous that income has borne full tax while capital gains have borne none. Further, some taxpayers have been able to manipulate their transactions so as to substitute capital gains for income and thereby avoid taxation. It is mainly for these reasons that the Australian Government has decided to introduce a tax on realised capital gains accruing after 1 7 September 1974.

Because however of the great complexity of the measure, precise details of the proposed tax are unlikely to be available until the legislation is introduced in the autumn sittings of Parliament.

Superphosphate Bounty

Senator Wriedt-On1 October 1974, Senator

Bessell asked the Minister representing the Minister for Overseas Trade the following question, without notice:

I direct my question to the Minister for Agriculture. I refer to the visit to Tasmania by Dr J. F. Cairns last Friday and to his comment that the Government's decision to withdraw the bounty on superphosphate may well have been wrong. I ask, therefore, whether this indicates that the Government will give further consideration to this matter and that we may well see a reversal of the decision in this regard.

The Minister for Overseas Trade has provided the following information in answer to the honourable senator's question:

I refer the honourable senator to my reply on the same subject to the Leader of the Opposition, the right honourable B. M. Snedden, in the House of Representatives on I October 1974. (Hansard, pp 1945-1946).

Income of Members of Parliament

Senator Wriedt -On 1 October 1974, Senator Walsh asked me a question, without notice, concerning income of members of Parliament. The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

Parliamentary salary is personal exertion income, and not subject to the proposed surcharge. If a member has other sources of income that, considered in isolation, would be personal exertion income, that income too would not attract the surcharge. If, however, he has property income such as rents or dividends, or interest that is not related to his personal exertion activities, such income will be subject to the surcharge.

Australian Industry Development Corporation

Senator Wriedt -On 3 October 1974, Senator Cotton asked the Minister representing the Minister for Overseas Trade the following question, without notice:

The Government tabled yesterday in the Senate the Annual Report of the Australian Industry Development Corporation in which an item of $2,188,000 for exchange fluctuation gains and special items is brought to account in the profit and loss account. Can the Minister say whether in the same account provision is made for losses in the current year from exchange devaluations and changes? If this has not been done, would it not have been prudent to do so?

The Minister for Overseas Trade has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

I am advised that the effects of fluctuations in exchange rates occurring during the current financial year will be brought to account by the Corporation in the current year in accordance with the AIDC's normal accounting practice.

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