Opinion Number. 898

Subject

COMMONWEALTH IMMUNITY FROM STATE LAWS WHETHER COMMONWEALTH IS LIABLE TO PAY FOR SANITARY SERVICES AND WATER SUPPLIED TO COMMONWEALTH PROPERTY: CHARGES FOR SERVICES RENDERED DISTINGUISHED FROM TAXES ON PROPERTY

Key Legislation

CONSTITUTION. s.U4

Date
Client
The Secretary, Prime Minister's Department

The Secretary to the Prime Minister's Department has requested advice as to whether the Commonwealth is liable to pay charges for sanitary service and water provided by the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works at the Shipbuilding Yards at Williamstown.

Under section 114 of the Constitution a State may not, without the consent of the Commonwealth Parliament, impose a tax on property of the Commonwealth. In this case, however, the charges are made for services rendered to the Commonwealth, and, as decided in earlier opinions of this Department, are not taxes within the meaning of section 114 of the Constitution.

I am, therefore, of opinion that the Commonwealth is liable for charges made by the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works for sanitary service and water provided at the Williamstown Shipbuilding Yards.

[Vol. 16, p. 104]