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Wednesday, 2 April 1941

Senator BRAND (Victoria) .- I agree with the principle of child endowment, but disagree with the proposed pay-roll tax. The money for this social service should be obtained from Consolidated Revenue; I regret that there will be no contribution from persons earning high professional incomes and from those whose income is derived from rents and dividends. Many letters have reached me condemning the proposed method of financing the scheme. One from the Retail Grocers' Association reads -

At ji, meeting of retail grocers representing every State, held in Melbourne on 1st April, the following resolution was passed unanimously : - "Whilst approving of the principle of child endowment this federation representing the whole of the grocers in every State of the Commonwealth, emphatically protests against the collection of the largest portion of the sum requested by a. pay-roll tax on employment, as many individuals and firms with large net incomes would be exempt, and that others often with smaller net incomes would be liable for the tax. Consequently it is considered that the tax is inequitable and undemocratic, and that, in the opinion of this federation, the only equitable method t'finance child endowment is from general revenue."

The primary producer, too, is very much concerned about this proposal. Captain? of industry and large businesses affected by the 'proposed pay-roll tax will pass on the amount of the tax, and, not only will the cost of living to the whole community mount up, but production costs to the man on the land will increase. The price of farming implements, wire netting, fencing wire, &c, purchased each year will be higher. The primary producer cannot pass on his costs of production. When the war is brought to a triumphant conclusion, Australia will have to live largely by what it can sell overseas of its primary and secondary products. When the primary producer has to compete in the markets of the world, this passed-on pay-roll tax will make him poorer than he is to-day. An all-round tax equitably distributed throughout the whole community would give to the primary producer a chance to make both ends meet.

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