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Wednesday, 6 May 1942

Mr PROWSE (Forrest) .- These regulations were gazetted with a view to conserving man-power, and I concede that they will reduce the number of valuers needed, but I think that the point raised by the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Duncan-Hughes) in connexion with probate duties is a much more serious thing than the shortage of valuers. For the purposes of probate, an actual valuation should be made, and I believe that the sense of justice inherent in the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) will lead him to amend the regulations in order to make it clear that they apply only to land taxation in the ordinary sense. The land tax, in any case, is a capital tax, one of the few capital taxes we have in this country. The Treasurer taxes the income raised from the land and also the machines, so to speak, by which the income is raised. Since, following a resolution of the Commonwealth Parliament, certain businesses became defunct, thereby depreciating property values, the pegging of the values of land for taxation purposes at the levels obtaining on the 1st July, 1939, is too drastic and is bound to create injustice. No self-respecting government would wish to engender a feeling of injustice in the minds of the citizens.

Mr Chifley - I shall look into the probate aspect, but I think that that position is exaggerated.

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