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Tuesday, 24 September 1974
Page: 1357

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) -I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The Bill now before the Senate imposes a tax of 2c per litre on liquefied gas used for propelling road vehicles. The introduction of this tax was foreshadowed in the Budget Speech of the Treasurer (Mr Crean) of 17 September. The tax imposed by this Bill applies only to liquefied gas used in the propulsion of road vehicles. It does not in any way affect the bulk of liquefied gas which is used in the community for domestic and industrial heating, cooking and various other purposes.

The use of liquefied gas in road vehicles has been increasing at a significant rate. Users of liquefied gas for vehicle propulsion, however, do not at present contribute to Government revenues, much of which is expended on road construction and maintenance. This tax will remedy this anomaly. The rate of tax proposed- 2c per litre- is almost exactly 40 per cent of the current rate of excise duty on petrol and is considered to be a rate which will minimise the erosion of petrol excise whilst not unduly inhibiting expansion of the use of gas for propelling road vehicles.

The Government is aware of the high cost of establishing supply and distribution facilities for liquefied gas and of the need to be able to plan such expansion with confidence. For this reason the Government has decided that, for the next 5 years, the rate of tax payable on liquefied gas used in road vehicles will be increased only by 50 per cent of any increases of petrol excise that may occur in that period. Tax will be payable on liquefied gas used in propelling a road vehicle by the person owning the gas immediately before such use. It will be paid monthly by users on the basis of returns of use submitted to Collectors of Customs. The Bill proposes that the tax will operate on and from a date to be proclaimed. A summary of the clauses of the Bill is being circulated to honourable senators. I commend the Bill.

Debate (on motion by Senator DrakeBrockman) adjourned.

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