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Friday, 20 June 1930

In committee:

Clauses 2 to 4 agreed to.

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE(Western Australia) [11.9]. - I have already circulated a proposed amendment which, at first, I thought should follow clause 6, but on reconsideration I think that it should be inserted after clause 4. I therefore move -

That the following new clause be inserted - 4a. (1.) The total amount of bounty authorized to be paid under this act in any one financial year shall not exceed -

(a)   in respect of seed cotton, the sum of one hundred and twenty thousand pounds; and

(b   )in respect of cotton yarn, the sum of sixty thousand pounds. (2.) When the maximum amount of bounty which may be paid in any year in respect of seed cotton or cotton yarn, as the case may be, has not been paid in that year, the unpaid balance, or any part thereof, may be paid in any subsequent year in respect of seed cotton or cotton yarn, as the case may be, in addition to the maximum amount for that year. (3.) Notwithstanding any other provisions in this act the total amount , of bounty payable under this act shall not exceed a total sura of eight, hundred thousand pounds.

Section 3 of the Cotton Bounty Act of 1926 provides that-

There shall be payable out of the Consolidated . Revenue Fund, which is hereby appropriated accordingly, the sum of nine hundred thousand pounds during the period of five years commencing on the 16th day of August,' 1926, for the payment of bounties in accordance with this act.

Section 5 of that act reads - (1.) The total amount of bounty authorized to be paid under this act in any one financial year shall not exceed -

(a)   in respect of seed cotton - the sum of £120,000; and

(   b) in respect of cotton yarn - the sum of

£60,000.

(2.) When the maximum amount of bounty which may be paid in any year in respect of seed cotton, or cotton yarn, as the case may be, has not been paid in that year, the unpaid balance, or any part thereof, may be paid in any subsequent year in respect of seed cotton or cotton yarn, as the case may be, in addition to the maximum amount for that year.

Those are the usual provisions in the bounty acts which have been passed by this Parliament. It is usual in such legislation to make provision not only for a bounty, but also to indicate the amount of the expenditure authorized. In the bill before us there is no such limitation. When introducing the bill the Leader of the Senate (Senator Daly) said that the total estimated expenditure under it was £800,000. I have incorporated that amount in my amendment, and have also put in the maximum amount payable each year as set out in the principal act. The proportions of the bounty set out in the amendment are the same as in the principal act, and should be sufficient to meet requirements, especially as from the commencement of the new act the bounties will be on a sliding scale. Indeed, it would appear that the amendment makes more than a generous provision. I suggest that an important principle is involved, namely, that in this bill Parliament is asked to appropriate an unknown sum. We have passed a clause to provide that all . the bounties payable are hereby appropriated. The sum involved may be some millions of pounds. Some limit should be provided in the bill as has been done in all other bounty acts. I do not know why that provision has been omitted from this bill, and shall listen with interest to the Minister's explanation. I take it that he will not oppose an amendment to limit the liability of the Commonwealth.







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