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Thursday, 28 March 1946

Mr Abbott t asked the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -

1.   Is there a shortage of suiting materials, particularly with regard to the requirements of ex-soldiers?

2.   Is it a fact that all supplies of worsteds in New South Wales from the Yarra Falls Company Limited have been cut off from the local market?

3.   Is it a fact that the Yarra Falls Company Limited is controlled by what is known as the " Collins House Group" ?

4.   Is it a fact that this powerful company is being given preferential treatment in the issue of export licences by the Minister?

5.   Is it a fact that by selling in the export market this company obtains an extra profit of at least 2s. 6d. a square yard over the home market?

Mr Dedman - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   There is a shortage of suiting materials of the worsted variety which is the type mainly preferred by Australian men. The supply position in regard to tweeds and woollens is much better and in excess of local demand. Such shortages as exist of worsted suitings is due almost solely to the inability of textile mills to attract female labour. The requirements of ex-soldiers arc catered for by an arrangement made between the Government and the Federal Retailers Association, whereby the latter body agreed to give preference to discharged personnel for one suit, two fashion shirts, one pair of shoes and one hat. If this agreement is faithfully applied, then servicemen should have no difficulty in obtaining a suit within a reasonable period of their discharge.

2.   Although Yarra Falls Company Limited have recently transferred their agency from Hooper and Harrison to other Sydney distributors, New South Wales is still receiving the same percentage of the factory's total output which is allocated to the Australian market. Whilst the Commonwealth has no control over distribution, steps have been taken which should enable the previous recipients of Yarra Falls cloth through Hooper and Harrison to secure their previous quota through the present distributors.

3.   Yarra Falls Company is a limited liability company. Details of the persons holding shares in it are available from the RegistrarGeneral's Office, Melbourne. I have no information as to how the company is controlled.

4.   I have not given any instructions on the lines suggested nor have my responsible officers any knowledge of any such preference having been given. If, however, information be supplied to substantiate the suggestion contained in the question, the matter will be fully investigated.

5.   No.

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