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Thursday, 24 November 1927

Mr PRATTEN (MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) (3:55 PM) - I rise to give the honorable members for Darwin, Franklin and Kalgoorlie some assurance with regard to the provision on these Estimates for lighthouses. This year the department is spending two and a half times the amount spent last year on lighthouses. This year work will be completed on four lighthouses, new work is in progress on two, alterations will be completed on five, and new work will be started on five more. The amount to be spent on the lighthouse service this year is about £57,000. It is the biggest works programme the department has had for some years. I have noted the remarks made by honorable members, particularly the reference by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. A. Green) to the paucity of lighting on the west coast of Western Australia, and I shall go into the matter as the honorable member presumed I would.

The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin): has made certain statements in regard to the Tariff Board. I should like to point out to him that the Tariff Board is a statutory body, whose powers are set out in section 17 of the Tariff Board Act.

It will be remembered that it is very largely due- to the efforts of the Prime Minister that we have a preference of over £4 a ton on sugar in Great Britain to-day. We have also, owing to the attention of the Government, a further pre ference on sugar- in Canada that has enabled us- to export to that dominion during the second year of our reciprocal agreement with it, £1,000;000 worth of Queensland sugar I attended one or two meetings in london in connexion with a further extension of Empire preference, and the matter referred to by the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde) will not be lost sight of by the Government, because it is the Government's earnest desire to make progress in the direction indicated.

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