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Thursday, 2 May 1957

Mr PEARCE (Capricornia) .- I move -

That consideration of clause 2 be postponed, as an instruction to the Government - to re-examine the Tariff Board's proposal in regard to section 10 of the principal act.

Section 10 of the principal act concerns the limitation of profits. I should like to say how much I appreciate the remarks of the Minister for Supply (Mr. Beale). I think he is a very moderate sort of fellow, too. Probably, if he had been in charge of the manufacture of sulphuric acid all through, we might have got somewhere, but, as it is, we have not got anywhere. The facts of the case are that while we have a capacity to produce 100,000 tons of sulphuric acid a year and 95 per cent. of this capacity is being used, less than 40 per cent. of production is taking place from indigenous materials. We were so informed in the second-reading speech of the Minister. We have been dealing with this matter as a parliament since 1950, to the best of my recollection, but we have achieved very little in regard to it. If our aim is to enable 65 pex cent, or more of production to take place from indigenous materials, then I believe that the provision regarding limitation of profit must be eliminated, as recommended by the Tariff Board.

There is no desire on my part to enable big profits to be made in this industry, nor to set myself up as an oracle in connexion with it. I base my remarks on the report of the Tariff Board. The board considered all the evidence before it in 1954, when the circumstances were almost identical with those that exist to-day. The board's recommendation was that profits should not be limited, and that recommendation was added to the report at the time. I reiterate that by fixing a profit margin we put a brake on the use of indigenous materials. The honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. Mackinnon) has spoken on behalf of an Australian company that has played a major part in keeping down the price of superphosphate to the farmers.

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