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Thursday, 25 October 1973
Page: 2680

Mr FULTON (Leichhardt) - I have a few babies in my own electorate but they are quite different from those referred to by the honourable member for Chisholm (Mr Staley), the first speaker in the Grievance Day debate, and I should like to grieve about a few of them today. I did so previously to the previous Government but was not successful. I refer to the matter of sales tax on freight. This is a discrimination against people living outside the metropolitan areas and I believe it is completely wrong and should be tidied up as quickly as possible. People living outside the metropolitan areas have to pay sales tax on the freight on such things as motor cars and refrigerators. Cairns is more than a thousand rail miles from Brisbane and this tax amounts to a lot of money. It is quite unfair because most of the distributors in that area, and in any of the areas to which I refer are offered a special concessional freight rate by the Queensland Government. Nobody knows what the rate is. Nobody can find out because it is contained in a secret document between the distributor and the Queensland Government. These people certainly receive freight concessions but these concessions are not passed on to the consumer. Therefore, the consumer is paying sales tax on top of money that is not really even paid because the distributor has this concession. The distributor charges the consumer the full amount of freight as if he had purchased the article himself direct from Brisbane. This has been going on for years. It is totally unjust. I feel that the Treasury should look further into the question and try to eliminate the unjust application of sales tax.

The other matter concerns sales tax on band instruments. We have quite a number of junior bands in Australia and in particular in the north. It is encouraging to see that these young people are keenly interested and give most of their time to studying music and playing the instruments. Why should they be forced to pay sales tax on their instruments? The instruments are used only for band purposes, which are not commercial purposes. The young people do not receive money for their playing as do orchestras. The instruments I am referring to are brass band instruments and not necessarily saxophones or other similar instruments which could be used in orchestras that perform for commercial purposes. Why cannot the junior bands in particular and even the senior bands purchase their instruments free of sales tax. It is hard enough to establish a brass band and keep it going because of the costs involved. Yet, the sales tax has to be paid on top of the purchase price. Brass bands over the years always have been an attraction to the people and have always been in the forefront in any town or city when a function is held. The brass bands voluntarily go to these functions and give their services. I feel the taxation authorities should look at this aspect of sales tax.

The other matter I wish to raise concerning the Treasury is the tax zone areas. The areas in A zone are still the same as they were drawn originally but they are out of date completely. In one area in my electorate, Mount Garnett, a town which derives its main income from tin mining, has employees working in the A zone but living in the B zone. They do not receive the A zone concession; they pay the B zone rate of tax. They earn their money in the A zone but because the place of employment is on the other side of the river they do not receive the concession. The concession is not only given because of the remoteness of the areas but also because of certain difficulties. These people do not have the services of a resident doctor or dentist and therefore they have to travel hundreds of miles to receive this professional attention and this means time off work. They have to travel to Herberton or Ravenshoe to receive medical attention or dental treatment. I think consideration should be given to this matter.

Another area which has been drawn to my attention is Irvinebank. It is another mining town in the same circumstance. It has nothing other than a post office and hotel combined. There are no other services whatsoever. There is no medical officer, no dentist and no nursing facilities whatsoever. The residents have to travel 27 miles over a very rough road to Herberton to receive attention. Those residents also are not in the A zone, though they should be. I ask the Treasury to look at these matters. The zones have not been reviewed for many years and it is about time that they were. They are the few grievances I have today but I will have further grievances at a future time.

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