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Tuesday, 9 April 1957

Mr STEWART (LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES) - On Tuesday last, in the absence of the Minister for Trade, 1 asked ihe Prime Minister a question relative to the recent relaxing of import restrictions. The Prime Minister was unable to supply the details I required, and 1 now direct a question to the Minister for Trade: Can the right honorable gentleman inform the House what portion ot the £75,000,000 is to be used for the establishment of new quotas? If no arrangements have been made to assist small firms and individuals who have been endeavouring for years to establish a quota, will the Minister explain the reasons why no action has been taken in this regard? Is it the intention of the Government to perpetuate the iniquitous practice, which has become common since import restrictions were introduced, of firms and individuals without licences being forced to purchase quotas from existing licence-holders at premiums ranging from 5 per cent, to 20 per cent.? Does the right honorable gentleman appreciate that the failure of some firms and individuals to obtain their own quota is causing extreme hardship, loss of business and the dismissal of staff? Is it the intention of the Government to protect existing importers rather than to encourage the entry into the importing field of manufacturers? Finally, will the Minister give immediate instructions to his departmental officers to issue import licences to applicants who are able to prove that the lack of a quota is seriously affecting the efficient conduct of their business?

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