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Tuesday, 13 November 1973
Page: 3184

Mr VINER (STIRLING, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Has the Treasurer's attention been drawn to a report in last week's 'Sunday Times' published in Perth under the headline Anger in WA over gold tax rejection'? The report referred to a letter from the Minister assisting the Treasurer to Mr A. D. Motion saying that the Government had rejected the submissions put to the Treasurer for relief from the intention to remove the exemptions from taxation on the gold-mining industry? Is that report correct? If it is, has the Treasurer any proposals by way of rehabilitation or compensation to the industry for the removal of these tax benefits?

Mr CREAN (MELBOURNE PORTS, VICTORIA) (Treasurer) - Again I indicate that I get the latest information about the goldfields of Western Australia directly from my good friend and colleague the honourable member for Kalgoorlie. With him recently and in the company of the Prime Minister I received a deputation from Kalgoorlie which included the mayor of the city, the Premier of Western Australia and the head of the Chamber of Mines in that State. I indicated to them then that I did not see my way clear to withdraw the Budget proposals, but that when I received concrete propositions that this measure and other measures were causing detriment to the industry I would be prepared to reconsider the proposal. That is still the position. I intend, as early as the parliamentary session will allow, to visit Kalgoorlie and I know I will be as safe there as I am in most places in Australia. I suggest to the honourable gentleman who asked this question that the gold-mining industry in Western Australia suffers under difficulties that go back a fair amount of time. In some respects while this proposal may be regarded as the last straw, it is by no means the only weight on the camel's back. I am interested in the future of Kalgoorlie rather than in the interests of the dividends of goldmining shareholders. We are preparing to look at this matter, as I think it ought to be, as a Kalgoorlie problem. We are a government that at least is doing something systematic about reducing the drift from provincial and country areas to cities. The honourable gentleman can be assured that the plight of this area will be fully considered in the right way.

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