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Wednesday, 11 November 1959

Mr McEWEN - Clearly, I am not in a position to have in my mind with any precision the details of increases in the imports of rayon and of other man-made fibres in the period stated. But I do observe that man-made fibres other than rayon - terylene, dacron and orion, I think - have come into popular use since 1950-51. Therefore, I think that the percentage increase probably is not pertinent. Imports of rayon have been subject, of course, to the existing tariff. Rayon yarn, the filament from which certain rayon fibres are produced, and rayon piecegoods, all have been reported upon by the Tariff Board, upon the recommendations of which the Government has acted from time to time.

As to the effect on employment, rayon is used for garment-making in this country, of course, and I should think that it replaces cotton much more than it replaces wool. I have no doubt that employment in the textile-fabricating or garment-making industry would have been devastatingly affected if the Government had not seen to it that it was possible to import silk piecegoods and yarn, cotton piecegoods and yarn, and man-made fibre piecegoods and yarn, as needed to satisfy the Australian consumer demand and provide employment in the garment-making industry.

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