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Thursday, 18 May 1939

Mr MENZIES - I am aware of the disappointment expressed by the Premier of South Australia, and sympathize with it. because this matter relates to a very large prospective industry with which, of course, a State like South Australia would be closely associated if it were established there. But the Government has decided upon a public inquiry by the Tariff Board because, although it feels as a matter of general principle that i* is most desirable to encourage the establishment of large industries of this kind in Australia, it is aware that there are users of the product of this industry who are themselves concerned in the matter, notably, for example, in connexion with the canning of foodstuffs, and particularly the canning of Australian fruits "for export. In order that those who are affected, either in relation to their costs or otherwise, by such a proposal as this, may have an opportunity to express their views, the Government decided upon a public inquiry, believing that that was the fair and equitable thing to do. The inquiry will not lead to undue delay in arriving at a decision because, as I pointed out yesterday, the Government of the United Kingdom, which, under the terms of the Ottawa Agreement, had the right to three months' notice before having evidence submitted, agreed to waive that right and to substitute for three months a period of eight weeks. In these circumstances, it is anticipated that, the reference having been made, the inquiry can be conducted with great expedition and a report be received without any delay.

The honorable member for Indi asked me yesterday if I would lay on the table of the House a copy of the reference to the Tariff Board in this matter. I now do so.

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