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Thursday, 25 August 1983
Page: 283

Mr GAYLER —My question is directed to the Minister for Health. In view of widespread concern in the community over the Government's Budget decision to impose a sales tax on cosmetics which contain sunscreen agents, can he clarify what products will attract the new sales tax and reassure the public that there is no intention to tax products such as blockouts or ultra violet lotions which are sold for the prevention of sunburn and skin cancer?

Dr BLEWETT —I appreciate the honourable member's concern. I assure him and all honourable members--

Mr Leo McLeay —And the Leader of the Opposition.

Dr BLEWETT —And the Leader of the Opposition that it is not the intention of the Government to impose sales tax on genuine sunscreen agents such as UV filters, blockouts or any genuine sunscreen creams and lotions. The Government's commitment to preventive health is sufficiently strong that it surprises me that there should be any doubt about the issue. The intention of the changes is to deal with certain cosmetics, particularly lipsticks and moisturisers, which have included a sunscreen agent chiefly and in many cases simply to escape the genuine sales tax on cosmetics. Indeed, the height of absurdity was reached when I was told that a night cream now includes a sunscreen agent for the purpose of escaping taxation. I make it clear that the tax will apply to those cosmetics in relation to which it was sought to evade sales tax in that way. Finally, I assure the Leader of the Opposition that despite the Tandberg cartoon published the other morning, this is not a vicious attack on him.