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Wednesday, 18 February 1959

Mr HASLUCK (CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Territories) - The honorable member has referred in terms which are not quite exact, perhaps, to a study which was undertaken by officers of the Department of Territories and the Administration of Papua and New Guinea regarding the means of raising revenue in that Territory. That study was undertaken as a result of an assurance which I gave in this House during the debate on the Estimates about eighteen months ago. That assurance was along the lines that we would examine the ways in which revenue was raised in the Territory in order to find out if it was being raised equitably and in a way that distributed the financial burden where it should fall.

That financial review has been carried out and as the report was a document in respect of which we would profit from having the comments of other people, arrangements were made to table it in the Legislative Council of Papua and New Guinea. The tabling of the review in the Legislative Council has naturally given rise to a great deal of discussion in the Territory. Taxpayers, whether they are in Australia or whether they are in one of the territories of Australia, are always apprehensive. They always see some shadows for alarm even when shadows do not exist; and in the Territory there has been a good deal of public discussion. I have, myself, received -deputations representative of various groups in the Territory, and I have had the opportunity of reading quite a number of things that have been published in the press of the Territory. Those are matters which the Government itself has to take into consideration when deciding which is the best way of raising revenue in the Territory.

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