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Wednesday, 21 October 1931

Orders for Overseas Material

Mr A GREEN (KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Yesterday, the hon orable member for Martin (Mr. Eldridge) asked the following question without notice : -

In reply to an inquiry addressed to him by me the Postmaster-General wrote, on the 13th October -

Since the present Government took office, the department has placed orders overseas to the value of approximately £49,000 for material which it would have been practicable to manufacture in Australia.

Has the Postmaster-General any explanation to offer in relation to that strange admission regarding expenditure overseas on equipment which could have been manufactured in Australia? Is such expenditure in keeping with: the policy of the Government for the protection of Australian manufacturers?

I then intimated that I would supply the honorable member with further details to prove that, since the present Government assumed office, the proportion of imports to local manufacturers in the purchases of the Postal Department has. decreased considerably. The department has consistently adopted the policy of obtaining its supplies in Australia to the utmost possible extent. ' The main reason why orders have gone overseas, during the term of office of the present Government, is because of the exceptionally high cost which would have been entailed in obtaining the items locally. Of the total purchases made of material for post office requirements, the percentage obtained from overseas has shown a substantial fall year by year, the figures being as follow : -


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