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Friday, 9 October 1931

Overseas Shipments. " A reduction of 5s. a ton in the freights on wheat shipped from Melbourne during September, October and November to the United Kingdom, the Continent and Colombo, was announced to-day by the Overseas Ship-owners Representatives Association. The new SeptemberOctober rate is 25s. a ton, and the new November rate 27s.6d. a ton. Flour freights to the same destination have been reduced by 5s. a ton to rates which are 2s. 6d. a ton above those fixed for wheat."

Now, sir, I want you to think for yourself on this matter, and I ask you why shipowners voluntarily offer to carry flour to London during September-October for 25s. per ton while wool is 1 3-16d. per lb. or £11 per ton? Surely something is wrong, which I want you to right. Then again, why is wool carried by weight instead of by measurement. It is all placed in the same sized bales and dumped to the same measurements. Why are Sydney Harbour dues 9d. per ton on wheat, and on wool9d. per bale - seven times more? And again, why have our wool freights gone np so much since Lord Inchcape started out to eater for our welfare?

The matter in the letter which the editor of the Courier expunged without Mr. Clark's permission, and which was published in another newspaper, contains the following: -

Howhas th is been brought about - simply by Lord Inchcape getting control by merging a number of companies and acquiring dumping plants and wharfages wherever possible and dictating terms to all and sundry to the detriment of all primary producers, not only in Australia, but probably all over the world. In Java the combine is working.I put £50,000 into a plantation, lost 75 per cent. of my capital in fifteen years, never had a dividend on account of high rates of freight (about £6 per ton on copra), whereas if 1 had. put my money into a shipping company there, the K.V.H., I would have received 10 per cent. annually on my capital, viz., £5,000 a year, and would not have lost 75 per cent. of my capital. Then turn to New Guinea and the Solomons. Your readers will remember that after the war many of our returned soldiers bought a lot of the confiscated German plantations, when copra was £24 per ton. Last Monday week the Courier reported copra at £1 1 2s.6d. per ton in London, and your readers will scarcely believe me when I say that out of this £11 2s.6d. the freight is £7 per ton; yet I am assured by Captain Wm. Collin thathe pays this rate of freight. Fifty years ago it was 35s. by sailer. The Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia is a very live body in Australia, and I invite their active co-operation in this scrap I am putting up trying to get their comrades a fair deal.

Itis my wish to draw the attention of honorable members to the excessive freights being charged. We are told that a higher freight is generally charged for wool, yet wool is carried from Australia to Japan for 55 per cent. less than is charged from Australia to Great Britain. We will be told that Japan is nearer to Australia than is Great Britain, but it is a fact that all the ships trading outside the ring are carrying goods cheaper than those inside the ring. Mr. Clark asks why wheat and flour are carried cheaper than wool.

Mr Hughes - The sea freight on wool between Australia and London must' be more than the cost of shearing and classing.

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