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Thursday, 24 November 1927

The Development and Migration Commission visited Tasmania and induced the millers to form themselves into one amalgamated company in order to protect the industry; yet the Government uses imported instead of local timber. This correspondence continues - 5th November, . 1927.

Chamber of Commerce,


I mported Timbers.

Dear Sirs,

We have perused report under the above heading appearing in the Mercury of 4th inst., and having relation to article under similar heading of previous day.

It is now pointed out the business of the tender in question is purely a Commonwealth one. This, of course, was our impression originally, and made the matter more significant. The Development and Migration Commission is also a Commonwealth matter.

Assuming the Federal department concerned is correct in stating the Baltic pine lining would be a cheaper article, this surely furnishes the best of reasons why the protective tariff for which the industry has been agitating for some time should be accorded. The disadvantages under which the local industry labours, as compared with the foreign article, are well known, and need not be recapitulated here. In fact, in this respect, their contention would appear to be an illustration of - "He who excuses himself, accuses himself."

At the same time, we contend, a hardwood liningcould have been supplied more cheaply, and equally suitable for the purpose required; in fact, in some respects, more so. We might draw attention to the fact, whereas the hardwood lining would merely require to be oiled over, foreign pine demands adequate painting, and also the provision called for on account of the knots with which it is always plentifully endowed.

Another point is with regard to the risk of fire. The military huts would be situated a considerable distance from thefire brigade, and pine is of course infinitely more inflammable than hardwood.

However, as has already been drawn attention to, no alternative tender was called for. - We are, yours faithfully, chesterman & Co. Pty. Ltd. 16th November, 1927.

A.   C. Seabrook, Esq., M.H.R.,

House of Representatives,

Canberra, Australia

Imported Timbers for Commonwealth Works

Dear Sir,

We notice to-day's Mercury, under the heading of "Fort Nelson Huts," reports yourself as having raised the question in the House of Representatives as to the Defence Department specifying the use of imported pine lining re the work in connexion with the huts in question.

As our firm, first of all, brought this matter in front of the Forestry Department, and subsequently drew the attention of the Chamber of Commerce to it, it occurs to us you would be interested in perusing copies of the correspondence, and are therefore enclosing same herewith.

We think these letters set out the position fairly accurately, and would merely add it will be apparent to you the contention as to our hardwood costing approximately £80 more than the foreign article is more or less assumption - at any rate, steps were not taken to obtain alternative quotations, with a view of establishing the fact. - We are, yours faithfully,

Chesterman & Co.

It is inexcusable on the part of a Government to use imported timbers without asking suppliers of local hardwoods to submit prices. In fairness to a local industry, tenders should be called for all departmental requirements. Although some of the huts in which the timber was to be used were already lined with pine, very many of them were not lined, and local timber could easily have been used for the purpose of lining them. The only way in which the timber industry can succeed is by giving it higher tariff protection, or by the Government using local timber for all its departmental requirements.

I represent about 80 per cent. of the fruit exporter oversea from Tasmania. Dealing with the export inspection fees, the budget speech contained the following:

With the object of further assisting producers to compete in overseas markets, the Government has decided to abolish the inspection fees charged under the commerce regulations on certain exports.

The concession, which will come into operation immediately, will amount to about £37,000 annually, and will represent substantial relief to the dairy produce, meat, and fruit exporting industries. Fees will only be charged where inspections are required to be made after official hours.

I should like to know whether the term "fruit" covers fresh fruit?

Mr.Paterson. - It covers all fruit.

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