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Tuesday, 30 May 1972
Page: 3211

Mr COLLARD (KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - My question is addressed to the Minister for Customs and Excise. Will a general reduction in the price of wine follow the reduction in the wine excise? Will the affluent society be the major beneficiary of that reduction? Does the Minister recognise that beer is by far a more popular drink within the lower-middle income community, and if so, will he take immediate steps to remove or substantially reduce the excise on that beverage? If not, will he explain why, with respect to indirect taxation generally, his Government continues to require those on the lowest incomes to bear the greatest burden?

Mr CHIPP (HOTHAM, VICTORIA) (Minister for Customs and Excise) - All aspects, save one, of the honourable gentleman's question, deal with matters of Government policy or matters which are the prerogative of other Ministers. I cannot and will not answer the questions on those matters. That part of the question which I can answer is the question whether there will be a reduction in the price of wine following a reduction in the wine excise. To the extent that I cannot anticipate what retailers and wholesalers will do, I cannot answer it, but 1 can give some factual information. From information I have received from my Department, the SO per cent reduction in excise, if it is passed on in mark-ups and so on, should result in a reduction in price of about Se a bottle.

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