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Thursday, 6 December 1973
Page: 4470

Mr Bennett asked the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice:

(1)   Is it a fact, as stated by Professor Webb of the University of Western Australia, that living costs in Western Australia are artificially high because that State pays $2 million annually in customs duty to the Australian Government and that this would not be so in a free trade State.

(2)   If not, will he clarify the position.

Dr S F Cairns (LALOR, VICTORIA) (Minister for Overseas Trade) - The Minister for Customs and Excise has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   and (2) I have read with interest the statement attributed to Professor M. Webb of the University of Western Australia as reported in the West Australian Sunday Times' of 18 November.

I noticed that the honourable member in his question referred to the annual collection of $2m in Customs duties in that State, whereas the Professor apparently suggested a figure of $27m.

Customs duties would not be paid if all imports were admitted duty free. However, protective import duties are imposed to protect Australian industries irrespective of their location. These and other duties provide a necessary source of revenue.

If import duties were abolished, the necessary revenue would- need to be raised by some other means.


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