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Tuesday, 15 August 1972
Page: 145

Mr SNEDDEN (Bruce) (Treasurer) - 1 move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The sole purpose of this Bill is to give effect to the proposal announced in the Budget Speech to exempt from sales tax imported works of art. At present works of art produced in Australia are exempt from sales tax.. Exemptions for imported works fall into 2 classes. Those imported for public galleries or museums or otherwise for continuous free public exhibition are exempt. So also are works by Australian artists abroad or, within the terms of the New Zealand/ Australia Free Trade Agreement, by New Zealand artists. Importations by or for private collectors or commercial organisations of works by other than Australian or New Zealand artists are subject to sales tax at 15 per cent.

The exemption in favour of works by Australian artists was introduced in the early days of sales tax as a measure of assistance to those artists. The Government considers that the development of Australian art is such that original purpose is no longer relevant. Moreover, the tax on imported works acts against the interests of public galleries which rely to a large extent on benefactions from private collectors.

Works of art are largely exempt from Customs duty and the Government proposes that the sales tax discrimination against imported works should also be removed. The proposed exemption will complement the Customs provisions and will accordingly apply to paintings, drawings, sculptures, engravings and so on that are exempt from Customs duty. Imported paintings, drawings and pastels valued at $50 or less are subject to Customs duty and will remain subject to sales tax. It is customary for sales tax changes to be effective from the day after their introduction into Parliament and it is proposed that the exemption should come into operation tomorrow, 16th August 1972. A memorandum containing a more detailed explanation of the Bill is being circulated to honourable members. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.

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