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Monday, 15 March 1971

Senator LAUCKE (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise been drawn to statements reported in the weekend Press to have been made by Mr Harry Palmer, General Manager of the Australian Wine Board, and Mr Elton Johnson, Chairman of the Renmark Growers Distillery, in which they expressed alarm at repercussions of the incidence of the 50c a gallon wine tax? They stated that the excise is crippling the previously prosperous South Australian wine industry. Is the Minister aware that the Renmark Growers Distillery, a grape growers' co-operative organisation, and the fourth largest winery in Australia, processing about 20,000 tons of grapes a year and providing an outlet for the vintages of about 400 grower members, has experienced an actual drop in sales of about 30 per cent since the imposition of the tax? As 1 am advised that some other wineries have experienced a 50 per cent drop in sales, quite apart from the normally anticipated annual growth in demand, will the Minister request the Minister for Customs and Excise to consider immediately the abolition of the tax?

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