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Wednesday, 10 April 1946

Mr ANTHONY (Richmond) .- At the present time, country traders have to pay sales tax on the price of goods which they have obtained from the capital cities, and also on the freight which they pay on the carriage of those goods from the city to their own towns, because freight charges are added before the tax is levied. This constitutes a heavy additional burden in cases where goods are carried perhaps hundreds of miles by 'rail or sea., when the rate of sales tax may be as high as 20 to 25 per cent. For instance, if a firm in Lismore buys £100 worth of goods from Sydney, and pays £10 freight for the carriage of the goods, it must then pay sales tax on £110. I have asked that this system be altered, because it represents additional taxation on country people who live a distance from the city. The Assistant Treasurer (Mr. Lazzarini) is himself a country resident, and he is acquainted with the burdens which t country people are called upon to bear. The honorable member for Hume (Mr. Fuller), when he buys goods in Sydney for his business in Tumut, has to pay sales ta.x of from 10 per cent, to 20 per cent, on the cost of carriage, as well as on the goods themselves. That is not fair, and I take a very strong view of the matter. Representations have been made by chambers of commerce in various parts of the country, but in every instance they have been told that, because of administrative difficulties, it is impossible to grant their request. My opinion is, that where an injustice is being done, a way must be found to remove it. Now that I have drawn attention to the matter in this chamber, I hope that the Government will see its way clear 'to amend the rates bill to give effect to my request.

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