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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Senator E B JOHNSTON (Western Australia) (5:37 AM) , - I have a copy of a statement that was distributed by the Government a few days ago relating to the uniform income taxation scheme, and I should like to be informed by the Government whether the figures contained in it are correct. I shall read the statement -

Under the uniform scheme the total collection of income tax in Queensland will be £16,504,000. Of that amount £5,932,000 will he paid to the State Government in compensation. The net contribution to the Commonwealth will therefore be £10,522,000 or £10 6s. 8d. a head. The net contribution to the Commonwealth in all States will be as follows: -


It will be seen that Queensland's contribution 13 the lowest per head.

The total income tax collections from each State and the compensation to each State are as follows : -


I understand that the information set out in that statement was prepared by Professor Mills, the chairman of the Commonwealth Grants Commission, who acted as chairman of the special committee. Although Western Australia has a much larger area to develop than has South Australia, the grants that that State has received on the allocation by the Commonwealth Grants Commission, have exceeded those granted to Western Australia. In 1938-39 South Australia received £1,044,000 and Western Australia, £570,000; in 1939-40 South Australia obtained £995,000 and Western Australia, £595,000; and in 1940-41 South Australia was paid £1,000,000 and Western Australia received only £650,000. I have never been able to obtain the reason why South Australia has been so well treated as compared with Western Australia.

Senator McBride - The honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Spooner) was also a member of the special committee to which the honorable senator referred.

Senator E B JOHNSTON - Mr. Spooneris a resident of New South Wales, as is also Professor Mills. The other member was theright honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin). I think that Professor Mills would give the States a fair deal. When it was announced that the report of the special committee had been circulated, I went to Mr. Scullin to obtain a copy of it. I knew that he would not be a party to foisting anything unjust upon the people of Australia. I should like to know from the Minister in charge of the bill what the effect of this amendment will be. If we cut down the allocation to New South Wales, are we also to deal similarly with other allocations. This is the 'first time that Western Australia has ever received a larger Commonwealth grant than South Australia.

Senator E B JOHNSTON - I realize that, but Professor Mills is the chairman of both bodies. Apparently, these allocations have been arrived at on a basis which is much more favorable to Western Australia than the basis of previous Commonwealth grants. It seems. therefore, that Western Australia should have had more consideration in the past. I have never seen the Senate so willing and anxious to alter entirely the basis of allocations which were made on similar grounds. The Minister's explanation was clear and convincing. I do not know why Senator McBride wishes to upset the allocations which treats all States on the same scientific basis.

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