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Thursday, 22 November 1973
Page: 3765

Mr GILES (Angas) - The Income Tax Assessment Bill (No. 5) deals with many of the most important budget measures that increased taxation on the Australian community. I will list one or two measures, but they are by no means all. This Bill alters the gold and other smaller mineral subsidies. It alters the depreciation allowance over a wide range, including land clearing, soil erosion measures, fencing and dams. It entirely deletes investment allowances and thus reduces efficiency in the productive element of the Australian economy, .that element being the manufacturing sector and the rural or primary industries. It taxes many age pensioners. It removes some of the benefits of the war memorial projects. It increases taxation and removes special deductions on life assurance.

The measure I wish to refer to entirely tonight is the deletion of section 31 (a) from the Act. That action heavily hits the part of the wine industry that makes, ages, stores and blends wines and brandies for good quality wines. I wish to mention this aspect of the Bill tonight because I maintain that it is the worst example of sectional discrimination ever visited on any one industry in the history of Australia. Firstly the revaluation of stock hits all elements of the wine industry very heavily. Although it is outside the scope of this Bill I mention the increases of excise duty and subsequent sales tax increases which amount altogether to a 62.4 per cent increase. This brings the Governments rake off from this industry to $794 a ton and leaves the growers' return at approximately $60 a ton. It increases the Governments rake off from $440 a ton to $794 a ton. That is the result if we base the calculation on the fact that 40 proof gallons would be the yield per ton. It is a variable quantity from one winery to another. It is the worst example of sectional discrimination ever visited on any single industry by any Treasurer as far as I can tell in the history of the federation of the Australian States. It proves that this Government has a very voracious appetite for taxing anybody. The only thing that stops this principle being visited on other sections of the community today is the fact that this Government made a promise to the Australian people - I will deal later on in my speech with other promises - that it would not raise personal income tax. I have already mentioned revaluation of stock, the increase in excise duty and the consequent increase in sales tax amounting to 62.4 per cent.

I now mention the increase in private company tax which hits every industry including those in the electorate of the honourable member for Port Adelaide, if not the bigger ones. Some wineries will also be hit by the altered depreciation schedules in relation to land clearing, fencing and so on. There is to be phased in an equalisation of the advantage which was previously handed out to the brandy industry for very good reason. The reason is based on the fact that the brandy industry is an entire industry unto itself. It is not a by-product industry, as are the industries of its competitors. It is not a by-product of the sugar industry or the grain industry. It is an industry unto itself. That is the reason why governments more sensible than this one gave it an advantage in the production of brandy. There are many examples in the past from 1951 onwards, when previous governments tried to do what this Government in its misguided zeal is attempting to do, of individual brandy producing distilleries losing 50 per cent of their sales of brandy. One hopes that the same circumstances will not apply now, but history says that in the past this has been the circumstance.

I know very well that Government supporters will duck behind any cover at all on this matter. They know very well that the Treasury officials with their voracious appetite - I will not refer to that of the honourable member for Port Adelaide - have a longing for income tax funds that cannot be satisfied. I know from my experience with wine excise that the Department of Primary Industry is not much help either. In fact after what 1 might call with great honesty the slight debacle of the exercise in wine excise recently, three of them told me how much they had learned. On the front bench on the Govern ment side today we want people who have a bit of discernment, who have had a bit of experience with the wine industry and all its ramifications.

Mr Birrell - That is a subject you ought to get off.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Dr Jenkins)Thehonourable member for Port Adelaide is interjecting while he is out of his seat.

Mr GILES - I did not hear the interjection, so let him go, Mr Deputy Speaker. The honourable member for Port Adelaide and his mate the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron) would do well to think back-

Mr Cohen - A real statesman.

Mr GILES - As for the honourable member for oranges who has not got a clue, he had better wake up because on the result of the New South Wales election his seat is gone a mile. He will have to do better than he has done in the past here otherwise he will have no hope of retaining his seat. He might take that advice from me in passing.

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