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Tuesday, 30 August 1960

Mr McEWEN - Some communications addressed to the Government, through me, have arrived from people who consider that their interests may be adversely affected by a large volume of imports of second-hand motor vehicles, particularly from north America. A study has been made to assess the likelihood of serious damage to the Australian industry, and it appears at present that there are really no grounds for serious perturbation. Certain factors provide a large degree of protection under existing conditions. First, the importation of a motor vehicle fully built involves quite heavy freight charges. Secondly, a motor vehicle imported from the United States of America or Canada must undergo a very costly conversion from left-hand to right-hand drive. Thirdly, such an imported second-hand vehicle would attract the same rate of customs tariff duty as is prescribed for automobiles generally. Finally - and this is a point that I think has been overlooked - an imported second-hand motor vehicle, as well as attracting customs tariff duty, is subject to the prevailing rate of sales tax when sold in Australia. This tax does not apply to a vehicle which becomes second-hand in this country. Having in mir ' all these con siderations, it appears that at present there is no likelihood of any great volume of imports of second-hand vehicles, but the position will be watched.

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