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Thursday, 16 August 1906

Mr KENNEDY (Moira) .- The claim of the vignerons has been that the rate charged should be merely such as will cover the cost of supervision. When the matter was first raised, the right honorable member for Adelaide thought that nothing less than1s. per gallon would do that, and consequently the rate was fixed at1s. ; but it has since been found to be more than twice as much as is necessary. For some years, therefore, the vignerons have been asking, for a reduction, and when they interviewed the Minister in regard to the matter they received the promise that, when the Tariff was being reconsidered, regard would be paid to their representations. From their point of view, the recommendation of the Tariff Commission is a fair one. They do not look upon a charge of 6d. per gallon as excessive. I understand the proposal of the Government to be to abolish the Excise rate, and to make a special charge for supervision when dealing with spirit used for fortification.

Mr Salmon - A rate not to exceed 6d. per gallon.

Mr KENNEDY - As the honorable and learned member for Corinella has pointed out, the result would be that the small wine-maker would have to pay proportionately more than the larger man.

Mr McCay - The charge would average more per. gallon on his output.


Mr McCay - It might easily absorb the whole of his profits.

Mr KENNEDY - I do not know exactly what is in the mind of Ministers - whether they intend to apportion the charges amongst vignerons in proportion to the quantity of wine fortified, or according to the time consumed by and the expense incidental to the visit of the supervising officers.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Either method is an unnecessarily complicated one.

Mr KENNEDY - I think that a fixed rate per gallon would be a simpler arrangement, and' would not inflict hardship on the vignerons. In New South Wales prior to Federation there was no charge for inspection.

Mr Deakin - I think that the fairest thing would be to charge the average cost, calculated on the quantity of spirit produced.

Mr KENNEDY - Fixing a rate per gallon ?

Mr Deakin - Yes.

Mr KENNEDY - The Department ought to know, from the experience which it has gained during the last four or five years, what the cost of supervision is, and, in determining what rate should be fixed, should allow a margin for increase, remembering that the proportional cost of supervision will decrease as the output increases.

The best way will be to charge in proportion to the cost of supervision, so much per gallon - 3d., 4d., or 6d.

Mr Deakin - I shall suggest that that proposal be inquired into.

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