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Wednesday, 13 May 1936

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Postmaster-General) . - The importations of bolts, nuts, and metal washers show a tremendous falling off. In 1928-29 the total importations from all countries amounted in value to £188,719, and, in the following year, to £131,403. During the depression period, the importations fell off greatly, and the highest point reached since was £38,842 in 1934-35. I am glad to say that, of that sum, imports from the United Kingdom amounted in value to £30,547. The total value of rivets imported 'from all countries in 1928-29 was £16,863, whilst, in 1934-35, the value had dropped to £4,189. The total value of imports of screws with nuts, or for us© with nuts, was £38,114 in 1928^29. There was a rapid falling off in the following years, and the figure for 1934-35 was £19,421.

In view of the opinion expressed by the Tariff Board that, at the rates of duty now proposed, manufacturers of black bolts and nuts would need to reduce prices for certain sizes of their products in order to compete with importations, inquiries have been made with a view to ascertaining the effect of the proposed duties upon this industry. It has been ascertained that, from the 1st November, 1935, the principal manufacturer of black bolts and nuts effected a general reduction of prices by giving an increased discount, the extra discount amounting to 1.7 per cent, of the list price, which is equivalent to an all-round reduction by 3 per cent, of the wholesale selling price. Inquiries reveal that this manufacturer is progressing satisfactorily under the new duties. Output in the year 1935, during which year the proposed duties operated, increased by 1,000 tons, thus resulting in a decrease of production costs and allowing for the reduction made in selling prices. The number of hands employed increased from 378 in the year 1934 to 450 in 1935. It is, therefore, evident that the proposed duties have not adversely affected the local black bolt and nut industry. On the other hand the progress of this industry under the new duties cannot be considered as other than satisfactory.

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