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Wednesday, 2 June 1926

Senator CRAWFORD (Queensland) (Honorary Minister) . - I have already informed the honorable senator that one factory has sufficient looms to manufacture over 400,000 yards annually. A second factory is in a position to produce a similar quantity, so there are two factories which could each manufacture 400,000 yards a year. The change proposed to 48 ribs concerns only a small proportion of the millinery ribbons imported, and the alteration does not affect the local hat manufacturers, who will still obtain entry under item 404 of their plain galoons for use in the manufacture or renovation of hats. When the number of ribs specified in the tariff was 40, it was found that overseas exporters immediately produced lines with 41 ribs and over to the inch, and thus deprived the local manufacturer of his protection. On several occasions the local manufacturers have brought this under the notice of the department, and the opportunity is now being taken to rectify the position. This is a very fine industry, giving employment to 150 to 200 hands, and the alteration will enable the local manufacturers to extend their businesses. A third company is now contemplating starting a factory. In opposition to this proposal, evidence was given to the effect that 43 ribs should be the maximum number included in the item. Inquiries show that the local manufacturers have produced ribbons with up to 60 ribs, but will be content with the amended proposal as the bulk of the ribbon manufactured by them will be covered by the proposal. The output of the two local companies approximates 300,000 yards per annum, but, as before stated, they are in a position to more than double their output. Representatives of the straw hat manufacturers have informed the department that they would much rather purchase their requirements from the local companies, and will do so whenever possible.

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