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Thursday, 2 December 1971
Page: 4100

Mr NIXON (Gippsland) (Minister for Shipping and Transport and Acting Minister for Primary Industry) (1:11 AM) - In respect of the first amendment proposed by the Opposition in relation to the averment provision, this provision appears in most legislation of this type. It is in the apple and pears legislation that was introduced this year and it is in the meat chicken legislation that was passed 2 years ago.Its purpose is to allow the Crown in a civil action to recover an amount of levy by producing some evidence of the facts upon which the claim for levy is based. These facts are, of course, within the knowledge of the taxpayer. If he considers that the Crown's statements in the averment are wrong, he may bring evidence to disprove them. It is then for the court to satisfy itself on the evidence whether the amount of levy claimed is due. So, for that reason, plus the fact that this provision is in the legislation with the full knowledge of the industry, the Government must reject the amendment.

In respect of the second amendment, the reason for setting a period of 3 years and why the Government cannot accept the amendment is administrative. The Department cannot in one year make audit inspections of the entire wine industry. I think the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) recognises that we would move as far as possible in one year. However, it takes about 3 years to audit the entire industry and it is necessary for us to protect the revenue. Therefore, it is desirable to provide for inspection of all producers. Again, this provision is in the Bill with the full knowledge of the industry. For those reasons the Government rejects the second amendment.

Question put:

That the amendments (Dr Patterson's) be agreed to.

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