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Monday, 9 November 1964

Senator McKENNA (Tasmania) (Leader of the Opposition) . - The purpose of the Bill before the Senate is to extend the operations of the Copper and Brass Strip Bounty Act 1962 for a further maximum period of six months from 1st October 1964 to 31st March 1965. As was stated by the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson) in his second reading speech, a review of the need for further protection of the industry concerned is currently being undertaken by the Tariff Board. The completion of the inquiry has been delayed by unforeseen complications. Provision is made in the Bill, therefore, for the Government to have time to receive, study and act upon the Tariff Board's report. After considering the report, the Government may determine the period of operation of the Act by proclamation before 31st March 1965. The extension of six months is the maximum contemplated in the Bill and the relevant period may be even shorter.

The Act limits the total amount of subsidy payable to £190,000 a year. The Bill provides that a proportion of that amount may be made available. If the extension of the Act runs to the full six months, this amount will be £95,000.

Senator Wright - Representing the payment for six months?

Senator McKENNA - Yes, for one half of the total annual amount. If a proclamation is issued and the Act operates for a shorter period than six months, the maximum that may be paid will be proportionately readjusted.

Senator Wright - Has the Leader of the Opposition the amounts paid in recent years?

Senator McKENNA - I have not those amounts before me now but £190,000 has been the limit for some considerable time. Another provision to which I think I should advert is that contained in clause 5 of the Bill. It is proposed to give to the Minister a discretion in the event of a profit of more than 10 per cent, being made on funds used in a company benefiting by the bounty. The Minister may then apply that surplus towards deficiencies, losses or amounts lower than 10 per cent, in preceding years. That is an additional benefit to the companies in this field provided in the Bill.

Senator Wright - is it stated that this provision exists for the first time in this Bill?

Senator McKENNA - It is not stated in the Minister's second reading speech but my impression is that this is the first time it has developed. The Opposition does not oppose the measure before the Senate.

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