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Wednesday, 10 May 1939

Mr McCALL (Martin) .- This item includes dental chairs, and I ask the Minister to consider a suggestion for either deferring consideration of it, or of having an investigation instituted with the idea of making an alteration of duties in the next schedule. The manufacture of dental chairs in Australia is a new industry, which has been adversely affected by the alteration of duties. When the industry was first established, it was protected by a duty of 45 per cent. A good deal of capital was expended in an endeavour to make the industry efficient, so that it could produce a good, low-priced chair at a reasonable profit. The product with which it came into competition at that time was a high-priced English ' chair, and an undertaking was given by the British manufacturers at: the Tariff Board inquiry that they would not compete in the low-priced field against the Australian chairs. Notwithstanding that undertaking, the British manufacturers eventually entered the low-priced field, and so keen did the competition become that the Australian product was put off the market. The British manufacturers, having succeeded in reducing the Australian trade to negligible proportions, applied to the Tariff Board to have English chairs admitted duty free. While this was going on, the Australian industry was reorganizedwith the idea of producing an even cheaper chair.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Prowse).There is no reference in this item to dental chairs.

Mr McCALL - But dental chairs are included in the item.

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