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Friday, 3 September 1920

Mr HUGHES - On the 25th August the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Marr) asked me a question in regard to making wool available for scouring. I then furnished him with certain information, and promised to make inquiries with a view to seeing what could be done in the direction desired by him. I am now in a position to inform the honorable member that the Central Wool Committee received a cablegram from the. British Government some months ago in the following terms : -

Scoured wool generally is selling in proportion to greasy even worse than when we last telegraphed you on this subject, not only because prices are so much lower in proportion, but because frequent withdrawals occur for want of buying demands for scoured qualities. We impress on your attention that under conditions of peace the continuance of scouring in Australia on anything similar to its present scale is very bad business, and it would be much more economical to stop your operations, paying up the necessary compensation.

In response to a recent cablegram to the British authorities, the Central Wool Committee have just received the following reply:-

With reference to your telegram No. 1318, regret to say supplies of scoured wool in stock are already disproportionately large and are least saleable portion of our stock. We most decidedly discourage further scouring of old clip wool for the scoured product will be of lower schedule value than the greasy wool.

I do not agree with that view. The policy of this Government, and I hope of the Parliament, is to do everything possible to encourage local industry. I am calling a conference of representatives of all sections of the industry at a very early date, in order that we may consider what should be done.

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