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Wednesday, 23 November 1960

Mr BUCHANAN (McMillan) .- I am very surprised for many reasons which time will not permit me to go into fully that the Government has accepted this amendment. This extension of the sales tax exemption to bulk milk tankers was designed to apply only to a specific type of tanker engaged in performing one specific job in the dairying industry. I refer to the tankers used in the new system which has come to be called bulk milk pick-up. This svstem demanded the construction of a new kind of tanker, fitted up quite differently from the ordinary tankers that are on the road for the purpose of transporting milk from one point to another. Some misunderstanding has arisen because, the English language being what it is, we have called both kinds of vehicles tankers. In correspondence which I conducted in the early days of this new system I tried to have the new tankers called vats. This would have avoided any possibility of misunderstanding.

I submit that only on very rare occasions will a milk depot employ outside carriers to do the specific task performed by the vehicles to which this amendment was originally designed to apply. Now that the Government has indicated its intention to accept the amendment requested by the other place, I think it is only fair that we should be quite clear on what the amendment means. As I understand it, the reason why it was suggested in the other place that bulk milk tankers should be subject to the sales tax concession, whether they are owned by common carriers or by persons using them solely in the dairying industry, was mainly that milk used to be carried in the ordinary milk cans that have been known to the industry for very many years, and on which no tax is payable. The tankers have now taken the place of the milk cans and it has been suggested that they should also be exempt from the sales tax provisions.

The Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Bill refers to " tanks for bulk milk tankers for use by producers " - and now we are to include carriers as well - " manufacturers or distributors of milk or other dairy produce exclusively for the collection of milk from farms ". The Treasurer in his second-reading speech used similar words. He said -

Assistance is being accorded to the dairying industry by way of exemption of tanks for bulk milk tankers which are used in that industry in picking up bulk milk from farms.

As I understand the suggestion made by the other place, it will no longer be necessary that the vehicle in question be used to pick up milk from farms. The sales tax exemption will now apply to bulk milk tankers transporting milk in any circumstances in which they are used to replace the old milk cans. As many honorable members are aware, a considerable number of factories use flat-top lorries to send their milk to

Melbourne, using milk cans. Other factories send their milk in specially constructed tankers, and in the circumstances that have now arisen it is most necessary that we should make quite clear whether the ordinary tankers that are used for the transport of milk from depots to city distribution centres and other places shall also attract the concession that is being granted.

I take the opportunity of pointing out to the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) that the point has been made all along the line that the sales tax exemption was to be granted to people engaged in the industry. This means the manufacturers or the co-operative milk depots that are actually in the industry. A carrier, on the other hand, is not regarded by the Government as being engaged in a specific industry. He is a common carrier and his activities might extend into any field. Acceptance of this amendment means that the concession will also be extended to the common carrier. Whether the bulk milk tanker is bought by a person engaged in the industry or by a common carrier, it will be the subject of the sales tax concession.

In the mining industry a similar position arises. A mining company buys trucks to transport ore from the mining face to the company's treatment plant, and it is granted a sales tax concession on those trucks. The company also employs contractors, whose vehicles do identical work. The trucks of the company and of the contractors work alongside one another on the job. It is impossible to tell one from the other. Yet the contractors do not receive the benefit of the sales tax exemption. If the amendment before the committee is accepted, then I suggest that contractors in the mining industry should be granted a similar concession.

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