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Wednesday, 26 March 1969

Senator SCOTT (Western AustraliaMinister for Customs and Excise) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second lime.

The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Excise Tariff 192.1-1968 by raising the maximum strength at which brandy may be distilled from 40% overproof to 45% overproof. There are no revenue implications in this Bill as the rate of duty on brandy is not affected. The amendment relates to the production side of brandy only and not to the strength of the product when excise duty is assessed prior to delivery from Customs control to go on the wholesale or retail market. The present maximum strength of 40% was set, in consultation with the industry, in 1918 when the Australian brandy industry was in its early stages of development. In the light of present day operations, the industry now considers that the existing distillation strength should be raised to the limit proposed.

In regard to whisky and rum, the legislation has for many years permitted a maximum distillation strength of 45% overproof. The proposed amendment will allow brandy distillers the same latitude in the distillation of their product. Consequential upon this amendment, changes will be necessary to the Spirits Act 1906-1968. I will later be introducing a Bill to effect these changes.I commend the Bill to honourable senators.

Debate (on motion by Senator O'Byrne) adjourned.

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