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Thursday, 29 April 1971

Senator WEBSTER (VICTORIA) - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Has the Treasurer's attention been directed to comments by a number of municipal officers and councillors in Victoria and in other States in which criticism has been made of the fact that a deduction for income tax exists for those land improvers who clear land and undergrowth in watershed areas and water catchment areas to the disadvantage of the community generally? Is the Minister aware that such clearing of land leads not only to the discoloration of water in reservoirs but also to erosion and siltation of the reservoirs and off-take weirs and the loss of water from the soil by evaporation and hence the early drying of natural springs? Will the Treasurer give this problem consideration, and, if considered proper and practical, withdraw the benefits by way of allowable income tax deductions for those costs incurred in clearing land in such areas declared by local government authorities?

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON - The honourable senator poses a very complex question. I have some knowledge of the implications of it from my association with local government in relation to the side effects of some procedures that are carried out in good faith or of intervention by local authority. Clearly it is a question that the Treasurer and the Treasury would need to look at in great depth, and I will refer the question to them.

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