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Thursday, 22 October 1970

Mr TURNBULL (Mallee) -

Having heard your ruling, Mr Deputy Speaker, 1 will keep very closely to the terms of the Bill. In order to lay the foundation for the point I wish to make I shall quote from the second reading speech of the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp). He said:

As members of the House will recall, this Act increased the rate of bounty on phosphate fertilisers as from 13th August 1969. In the case of standard superphosphate the bounty rose from $8 per ton to $12 per ton. In accordance with section 5 of the principal Act, the new rates were only payable in respect of unsold stocks held by fertiliser manufacturers immediately prior to that date and production on and from that date.

The Minister went on to say that following the announcement of the Government's decision representations were made requesting that stocks of phosphate fertilisers held by resellers on 13 th August 1969 be eligible for payment at the higher rate of bounty. The Minister said:

Resellers holding stocks had been compelled in this case by competitive pressures to drop the price to the fanner by the full extent of the bounty increase. 1 have quoted that passage as I believe it answers a point made by the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson). As a result of that situation, the resellers suffered some financial loss. I have a constituent who handles a lot of superphosphate, but he had very little in stock at 13th August 1969 and therefore did not suffer any great loss. However, when the previous rise in the bounty took place -

On 13th August 1968, which is not so very long ago - he had large stocks on hand and lost considerably. The Minister has said that the phosphate bounty was introduced specifically to reduce the price paid by the user.

The Government considers it unreasonable for resellers to carry the burden of the increase in the bounty on stocks held at the time the rate is changed. The point 1 make is that when the bounty was increased on 13th August 1968 my constituent, suffered a considerable loss, although it was stated by the Minister in respect of stocks held on 13th August 1969 that it was considered unreasonable for resellers to carry the weight of losses incurred through the bounty increase. I am putting to the Minister that in view of this statement about the position of resellers on 13th August 1969, surely the loss incurred by my constituent only a year before is unreasonable. I ask the Minister to consider making the provision of this measure retrospective to 13 th August 1968 when the price of superphosphate was increased.

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