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Wednesday, 25 November 1959

Mr Chaney (PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) y asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice: -

1.   Has consideration been given to the representations made to Mr. G. A. Rattigan, Assistant Secretary, Department of Trade, on 24th July last by a deputation of representatives of the major Australian timber-producing States?

2.   Is it a fact that timber production in Western Australia has declined by approximately 20 per cent, or 37,000,000 super, feet, in the last four years, and that producers have been selling Karri on the South Australia market at a figure below cost in an endeavour to retain at least a portion of the market in competition with North American timber?

3.   In view of the position of the timber industry in Western Australia, will he give consideration to a review of the import licensing retrictions on overseas timber or have the matter again referred to the Tariff Board?

Mr McEwen - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   Yes.

2.   Total production of timber in Western Australia, including sleepers, has declined by approximately 6 per cent, in the last four years. The production of sawn timber, excluding sleepers, has declined by approximately 17 per cent, or 30,000,000 super, feet in that period. It is not known whether Western Australia producers are selling Karri below cost on the South Australian market. Exports of timber from Western Australia to South Australia have been increasing and exports of Karri have more than doubled in the last four years.

3.   The position is under consideration.

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