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Wednesday, 17 October 1956

Mr BEALE (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Supply) - I cannot say, in answer to the honorable member, that I have reviewed this question of the amount being paid by the Government to the Georgetown Council. I might say that the amount concerned is an ex gratia payment. This is what has happened: The Georgetown Council has made application for rates to be paid by the aluminium project. Legally, the commission is not obliged to pay rates. But in acknowledgment of the fact that the Georgetown Council has supplied some services which are useful to the commission and to its employees, I did have a discussion, on the authority of the Government, with the Premier of Tasmania, and he and I agreed upon a figure. I want to stress that it was the Premier of Tasmania, Mr. Cosgrove, who agreed with this Government upon an appropriate and fair figure which ought to be paid. That amount of money is being paid, and that is where the matter stands. Whether the amount being paid is below the rateable value is really irrelevant, I submit with respect, because nine-tenths of the services which are enjoyed by the Australian Aluminium Production Commission are provided by itself. Only incidental services are provided by the Georgetown Council. My present view of the matter is that we are paying a fair amount in lieu of rates, and there the matter stands at present.

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